Overview on the pathomechanisms of allergic rhinitis

Asia Pac Allergy. 2011 Oct;1(3):157-67. doi: 10.5415/apallergy.2011.1.3.157. Epub 2011 Oct 11.


Allergic rhinitis a chronic inflammatory disease of the upper airways that has a major impact on the quality of life of patients and is a socio-economic burden. Understanding the underlying immune mechanisms is central to developing better and more targeted therapies. The inflammatory response in the nasal mucosa includes an immediate IgE-mediated mast cell response as well as a latephase response characterized by recruitment of eosinophils, basophils, and T cells expressing Th2 cytokines including interleukin (IL)-4, a switch factor for IgE synthesis, and IL-5, an eosinophil growth factor and on-going allergic inflammation. Recent advances have suggested new pathways like local synthesis of IgE, the IgE-IgE receptor mast cell cascade in on-going allergic inflammation and the epithelial expression of cytokines that regulate Th2 cytokine responses (i.e., thymic stromal lymphopoietin, IL-25, and IL-33). In this review, we briefly review the conventional pathways in the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis and then elaborate on the recent advances in the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis. An improved understanding of the immune mechanisms of allergic rhinitis can provide a better insight on novel therapeutic targets.

Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; Chemokines; Cytokines; Epithelial cells; Immune cells.