Allergen-induced Airway Inflammation and Its Therapeutic Intervention
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Allergen inhalation challenge has been useful for examining the mechanisms of allergen-induced airway inflammation and the associated physiological changes and for documenting the efficacy of drugs to treat asthma. Allergen inhalation by a sensitized subject results in acute bronchoconstriction, beginning within 15-30 min and lasting 1-3 hr, which can be followed by the development of a late asthmatic response. Individuals who develop both an early and late response after allergen have more marked increases in airway hyperresponsiveness, and greater increases in allergen-induced airway inflammation, particularly in airway eosinophils and basophils. All of the currently available and effective treatments for asthma modify some aspects of allergen-induced responses. These medications include short-acting and long-acting inhaled beta(2)-agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, cromones, methylxanthines, leukotriene inhibitors, and anti-IgE monoclonal antibody. In addition, allergen inhalation challenge has become a useful method which can, in a very limited number of patients, provide key information on the therapeutic potential of new drugs being developed to treat asthma.