The release of IL-31 and IL-13 after nasal allergen challenge and their relation to nasal symptoms
Background: IL-31, a recently discovered member of the gp130/IL-6 cytokine family, is mainly expressed by human mast cells and T helper type 2 cells. IL-31 is a key trigger of atopic dermatitis. Recent studies also suggest a role of IL-31 in the pathogenesis of other allergic diseases including allergic rhinitis. In the present study we studied the release of IL-31 and IL-13 in allergen-challenged allergic rhinitis patients.
Methods: Seven seasonal allergic volunteers underwent unilateral nasal provocation with allergen (and a control challenge) with the disc method out of the allergy season. Nasal symptom scores (rhinorrhea, itching, sneezing, obstruction) and bilateral nasal secretions were quantified before and after allergen provocation. IL-13 and IL-31 in nasal secretions and serum were measured by electrochemiluminescent immunoassay or ELISA, respectively.
Results: Nasal allergen challenge induced the typical clinical symptoms and physiological changes. IL-31 and IL-13 in nasal secretions increased in four and five, respectively, volunteers at 5 h after allergen but not after control challenge. We observed correlation trends between nasal IL-31 concentrations and IL-13 concentrations (r = 0.9, p = 0.002), and IL-31 contents and symptom scores (r = 0.9, p = 0.013) 5 h after allergen provocation. No IL-31 could be detected contralaterally or systemically in the sera.
Conclusions: The observed local upregulation of IL-31 mainly during the late phase reaction after nasal allergen challenge suggests a role of IL-31 in allergic rhinitis. In which way IL-31 modulates the inflammatory reaction and type 2 responses in allergic rhinitis remains to be investigated.