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Provocation of nonallergic rhinitis subjects in response to simulated weather conditions using an environmental exposure chamber model

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Nonallergic rhinitis (NAR) subjects present clinically with similar symptoms to subjects with allergic rhinitis, but which mechanistically are not IgE- mediated. NAR is difficult to study because of multiple, as yet unknown, disease mechanisms and lack of biomarkers and diagnostic tests. The purpose of this proof of concept pilot study was to develop an environmental exposure chamber (EEC) model to simulate weather conditions in a controlled setting to objectively diagnose NAR subjects and ultimately to investigate novel NAR therapies. Thirty-seven subjects with a history of NAR confirmed by negative skin-prick test to a panel of aeroallergens were tested with cold dry air (CDA) and temperature change challenges. Objective (acoustic rhinometry [AcR] and nasal secretions) and subjective measures (total nasal symptom scores [TNSSs]: congestion, rhinorrhea, and postnasal drip [0‐3]) were collected. Data was presented as mean ± SEM and statistical significance was assessed by paired t-test. The NAR EEC AcR responders to CDA had a significant decrease in mean minimal cross-sectional area (MCA; a measure of nasal patency) of 22.2 ± 2.43% (p < 0.0001) and 6.7 ± 7.22% (not statistically significant) at 30 and 60 minutes, respectively, with a concomitant increase in TNSS of 1.0 ± 0.24 U and 1.4 ± 0.30 U, respectively. AcR responders to temperature change showed a significant decrease in mean MCA to warm air of 16.0 ± 3.82% (p < 0.001) and 19.4 ± 3.88% (p < 0.0001) at 30 and 60 minutes, respectively, with an increase of TNSS of 0.4 ± 0.25 U and 0.4 ± 0.27 U, respectively. With rapid conversion to cold air, further decrease in mean MCA accompanied by an increase in TNSS was observed at 30 and 60 minutes. Increase in rhinorrhea was highest for CDA and the cold air phase of the temperature change challenge. Using the NAR EEC model, significant symptoms were induced in response to simulated weather changes in NAR patient responders. This proof of concept pilot study shows that the EEC model provides a consistent and reliable method to phenotype weather-induced NAR subjects that could be used to investigate disease mechanisms and novel therapies for NAR.
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Keywords: Acoustic rhinometry; cold dry air; environmental exposure chamber; nasal symptoms; nonallergic rhinitis; weather change

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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