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The release of IL-31 and IL-13 after nasal allergen challenge and their relation to nasal symptoms

Ralf Baumann1*, Matthaeus Rabaszowski1, Igor Stenin1, Maria Gaertner-Akerboom1, Kathrin Scheckenbach1, Jens Wiltfang2, Joerg Schipper1 and Martin Wagenmann1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany

2 Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Clinics for Psychiatry und Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany

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Clinical and Translational Allergy 2012, 2:13  doi:10.1186/2045-7022-2-13

Published: 1 August 2012



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.


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.


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.


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.

Nasal allergen; Nasal secretion; IL-13; IL-31; Kinetics