Attenuation of allergen sensitivity early in the course of ragweed immunotherapy

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1989 Sep;84(3):390-9. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(89)90426-0.


During the course of an open immunotherapy (IT) study of ragweed (RW)-allergic patients, nasal mediator release was studied by provocation testing. All subjects had a history of seasonal RW rhinitis, positive skin puncture test to RW, and RW-specific IgE by RAST. Nasal challenge was performed with serial dilutions of RW extract, before and after 12 weekly injections, providing a cumulative dose of 0.22 microgram of Amb a I. Serum IgE and IgG and basophil histamine release with RW were also measured. By 12 weeks of IT, when only 1% of the usual maintenance level dose had been administered, mean histamine release and TAME-esterase activity in nasal washes decreased significantly (p less than 0.05 and p less than 0.01). Prostaglandin D2 release did not change. Skin sensitivity decreased (p less than 0.05), whereas RW-specific IgE increased (p less than 0.05). No significant change in basophil histamine release was observed for RW or a control antigen. Only six of 40 subjects had an RW-specific IgG rise greater than 0.05 microgram/ml. Changes in nasal sensitivity did not correlate with the increases in IgE or IgG or with the change in skin test sensitivity. These present data indicate that there is a significant decline in nasal sensitivity to inhaled RW very early in the course of IT. There is, however, no indication of a relationship between the decreased nasal sensitivity and the production of RW-specific IgG antibodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens*
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Histamine Release
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Male
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Provocation Tests
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Proteins*
  • Pollen / administration & dosage
  • Pollen / immunology*
  • Prostaglandins D / metabolism
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / therapy*
  • Skin Tests
  • Time Factors
  • Tosylarginine Methyl Ester / metabolism


  • Allergens
  • Amb a I protein, Ambrosia artemisiifolia
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Plant Proteins
  • Prostaglandins D
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Tosylarginine Methyl Ester