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A comparative study on cockroach and ovalbumin sensitizations and challenge responses in Hartley guinea-pigs.

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The role of allergens in asthmatic inflammation is not clearly understood. To elucidate the mechanism of cockroach allergen (CRa)-induced airway disease, we studied three groups of Hartley guinea-pigs sensitized to control, ovalbumin (OA) or CRa. Parameters measured were anaphylactic antibodies by allergy skin test (AST), PCA assay and Western blot, changes in specific airway resistance (SRaw), analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and contracture responses of tracheal muscle (TSM) to non-specific and specific stimuli, in vitro. Both OA and CRa animals showed a similar allergic sensitization (AST and PCA), while Western blot identified several reaginic bands in CRa group compared to a single band in OA group. SRaw illustrated that CRa induce dual-asthmatic responses (4/6) in the CRa group, whereas OA induce only an early asthmatic response (3/6) in the OA group (P<0.01). The average total leukocytes in BALF of the CRa were 27.0x10(6), mostly neutrophils and eosinophils, while those of the OA showed 3.5x10(6), mostly eosinophils, respectively (P<0.0001). TSM responses to non-specific stimuli were similar in both groups (P>0.1), while the antigen-specific TSM contractions were more brisk in the OA group than those of CRa group (P<0.001). Thus, the study indicates that both CRa and OA sensitize guinea-pigs, yet CRa induces more severe and persistent late-phase inflammation than OA. This appears to be related to an influx of neutrophils rather than anaphylactic bronchospasm.

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