Effect of cetirizine on mast cell-mediator release and cellular traffic during the cutaneous late-phase reaction

E. N. Charlesworth, A. Kagey-Sobotka, P. S. Norman, Lawrence M. Lichtenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new H1 antihistamine, cetirizine, was studied to determine its effects on mediators and cellular infiltration during the cutaneous late-phase response (LPR). Ten ragweed-allergic subjects, who had previously demonstrated a cutaneous LPR, were examined in a double-blind, crossover study. Either cetirizine, 20 mg, or placebo was administered orally once daily for 2 days before and the morning of placement of a skin chamber overlying an unroofed heat/suction-induced blister to which was added antigen or buffer. Skin test erythema was significantly reduced by cetirizine at 15 minutes, 2 hours, and 4 hours by 56%, 40%, and 39%, respectively (all, p ≤ 0.01), but by 6 and at 8 hours, the cutaneous erythema was not significantly lessened. Histamine release was not altered by cetirizine treatment, but prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) production, which peaked at 3 to 5 hours, was clearly reduced by cetirizine treatment, being lower at all time points during the reaction; this was significant by analysis of variance (p ≤ 0.04). The inhibition was most marked during the fifth hour of the reaction when there was a 50% suppression of the PGD2 level by cetirizine (0.193 ng/ml to 0.075 ng/ml [p ≤ 0.03]). The most dramatic effect of cetirizine was attenuation of the inflammatory cell migration into the chamber. Eosinophil infiltration was decreased by about 75% during hours 6, 7, and 8 (p < 0.04), whereas the number of neutrophils was reduced by the same magnitude at the same times (p ≤ 0.04). Basophils appeared to enter the chamber together with the eosinophils and were decreased by 64% during hours 6 through 8, but not significantly due to small numbers. We conclude that cetirizine influences the pathogenesis of the LPR by causing a significant reduction in both the inflammatory cell infiltrate and PGD2 production. These effects apparently are not related to its anti-H1 activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of cetirizine on mast cell-mediator release and cellular traffic during the cutaneous late-phase reaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this