Effects of H1- and H2-antihistamines on platelet-activating factor and bradykinin-induced inflammatory responses in human skin.Clin Exp Dermatol. 1996 Jan; 21(1):33-7.CE
Previous studies show that oral antihistamines affect the weal and flare response to intradermal injections of the inflammatory mediators platelet-activating factor (PAF) and bradykinin (BK). The aim of this study was to compare the effects of terfenadine (an H1-antagonist) and cimetidine (an H2-antagonist) on weal and flare responses to PAF and BK in healthy non-atopic human volunteers. The effects of doxepin on PAF responses were investigated, as there is evidence that doxepin may have direct anti-PAF effects in addition to its known antihistaminic actions. Terfenadine significantly reduced weal and flare responses to PAF (mean reduction 53 and 73%, respectively) and flare responses to BK (mean reduction 78%) but had no effect on weal responses to BK. Doxepin significantly reduced both weal and flare responses to PAF (mean reduction 43 and 68%, respectively, at higher doses of PAF). Cimetidine had no effect on weal or flare responses to PAF or BK. These findings suggest that the flare response to intradermal BK is mediated via histamine release while the weal response is not. The effects of the various antagonists of PAF-induced responses suggest that its effects too may be mediated via histamine, the similarity of the effects of terfenadine and doxepin on these responses indicating that the effects of doxepin may be due to its known antihistamine activity rather than to any specific PAF-antagonistic properties. Platelet-activating factor (PAF) is a phospholipid which is released from a wide range of cell types and also from vascular endothelium. PAF is formed by the conversion of ether-linked phospholipids initially to the biologically inactive lyso-PAF and then by acetylation to PAF. Intradermal injection of PAF in human skin causes vasodilatation and increased vascular permeability, producing a weal and flare response with accompanying pruritus. Bradykinin (BK) is a vasoactive polypeptide formed by the action of enzymes known as kallikreins on inactive precursors called kininogens. Its effects include an increase in blood flow and vascular permeability and stimulation of the release of prostaglandins and histamine. On intradermal injection in human skin it causes a weal and flare response with associated pain rather than pruritus. Previous studies have suggested that the weal and flare response to PAF may be mediated in part by histamine release. Given that BK is known to cause histamine release it appears possible that the responses to both compounds may be modified by conventional antihistamines. Experiments based on this premise have found that antihistamines have a pronounced effect on the flare response to PAF but a less marked effect on weal responses. The weal response to BK was unaffected by systemic antihistamines but studies have produced conflicting results with regard to effects on the flare response. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of terfenadine (an H1-antagonist) and cimetidine (an H2-antagonist) on PAF- and BK-induced weal and flare responses in healthy, non-atopic human volunteers. Based on the treatment of cold urticaria it has been suggested that doxepin, which has known H1- and H2-antagonistic effects, may in addition show specific anti-PAF activity. We compared the effects of doxepin on PAF-induced intradermal responses with those of terfenadine and cimetidine in this study.