Effect of intranasal corticosteroid treatment on allergen‐induced changes in group 2 innate lymphoid cells in allergic rhinitis with mild asthma
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BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis is characterized by rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, sneezing and nasal pruritus. Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s), CD4+ T cells and eosinophils in nasal mucosa are increased significantly after nasal allergen challenge (NAC). Effects of intranasal corticosteroids (INCS) on ILC2s remain to be investigated. METHODS: Subjects (n = 10) with allergic rhinitis and mild asthma were enrolled in a single-blind, placebo-controlled, sequential treatment study and treated twice daily with intranasal triamcinolone acetonide (220 µg) or placebo for 14 days, separated by a 7-day washout period. Following treatment, subjects underwent NAC and upper airway function was assessed. Cells from the nasal mucosa and blood, sampled 24 h post-NAC, underwent flow cytometric enumeration for ILC2s, CD4+ T and eosinophil progenitor (EoPs) levels. Cell differentials and cytokine levels were assessed in nasal lavage. RESULTS: Treatment with INCS significantly attenuated ILC2s, IL-5+ /IL-13+ ILC2s, HLA-DR+ ILC2s and CD4+ T cells in the nasal mucosa, 24 h post-NAC. EoP in nasal mucosa was significantly increased, while mature eosinophils were significantly decreased, 24 h post-NAC in INCS versus placebo treatment arm. Following INCS treatment, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 were significantly attenuated 24 h post-NAC accompanied by significant improvement in upper airway function. CONCLUSION: Pre-treatment with INCS attenuates allergen-induced increases in ILC2s, CD4+ T cells and terminal differentiation of EoPs in the nasal mucosa of allergic rhinitis patients with mild asthma, with little systemic effect. Attenuation of HLA-DR expression by ILC2s may be an additional mechanism by which steroids modulate adaptive immune responses in the upper airways.
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