Cytokine profiles in nasal fluid of patients with seasonal or persistent allergic rhinitis

Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2015 Sep 22;11(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s13223-015-0093-x. eCollection 2015.


Background: New therapeutic approaches with biologic agents such as anti-cytokine antibodies are currently on trial for the treatment of asthma, rhinosinusitis or allergic diseases necessitating patient selection by biomarkers. Allergic rhinitis (AR), affecting about 20 % of the Canadian population, is an inflammatory disease characterised by a disequilibrium of T-lymphocytes and tissue eosinophilia. Aim of the present study was to describe distinct cytokine patterns in nasal secretion between seasonal and perennial AR (SAR/PAR), and healthy controls by comparing cytokines regulating T-cells or stimulating inflammatory cells, and chemokines.

Methods: Nasal secretions of 44 participants suffering from SAR, 45 participants with PAR and 48 healthy controls were gained using the cotton wool method, and analysed for IL-1β, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-17, GM-CSF, G-CSF, IFN-γ, MCP-1, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, eotaxin, and RANTES by Bio-Plex Cytokine Assay as well as for ECP and tryptase by UniCAP-FEIA.

Results: Participants with SAR or PAR presented elevated levels of tryptase, ECP, MCP-1, and MIP-1β, while values of GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-1β, and IL-6 did not differ from the controls. Increased levels of IL-5, eotaxin, MIP-1α, and IL-17 and decreased levels of IFN-γ, IL-12 and IL-10 were found in SAR only. RANTES was elevated in SAR in comparison to PAR. Interestingly, we found reduced levels of IL-4 in PAR and of IL-13 in SAR.

Conclusions: Elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines were seen in both disease entities. They were, however, more pronounced in SAR, indicating a higher degree of inflammation. This study suggests a downregulation of TH1 and Treg-lymphocytes and an upregulation of TH17 in SAR. Moreover, the results display a prominent role of eosinophils and mast cells in AR. The observed distinct cytokine profiles in nasal secretion may prove useful as a diagnostic tool helping to match patients to antibody therapies.

Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; Chemokines; Cytokines; Interleukins; Mediators; Nasal secretion.