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Otorinolaringologia 2008 March;58(1):17-30

Copyright © 2008 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The role of neuronal mechanisms in allergic rhinitis

O’Hanlon S., Keh S. M., Saleh H. A.

1 Department of Ear Nose and Throat Surgery Charing Cross Hospital Hammersmith, London, UK 2 Consultant in Rhinology and Facial Plastic Surgery Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Charing Cross Hospital and The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK


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Allergic rhinitis is a common condition with considerable morbidity, but the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis is not fully understood. In fact, several different mechanisms contribute to the symptoms and signs of this condition. Many studies have focused on the role of the immune system in allergic rhinitis and only a few have considered that of sensory nerves and neuropeptides. Little is known, instead, about the influence of the ion channels and transient receptor proteins in allergic rhinitis. This article takes in consideration the role of some of the sensory neuropeptides (substance P, calcitonin gene related peptide , vasoactive intestinal peptide, and adrenergic neuropeptides), the sodium channels, the transient receptor protein and the nerve growth factor in allergic rhinitis referring to up-to-date published literature and the Authors’ personal experience in this area. All these substances interact with the immune system in a synergic fashion. Without any doubt the neuronal mechanism represents an exciting challenge for the target of future treatments of allergic rhinitis.

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