Both allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma are common human maladies. These conditions often co-exist, and it has been speculated that rhinitis is a risk factor for bronchial asthma.
Prior to 1900 there was already clear evidence that patients with asthma had eosinophils, Charcot-Leyden crystals and Curschmann’s spirals in their sputum. These findings left little doubt that there was an inflammatory component to this lung disease. Evidence about the role of allergens as a trigger factor for asthma was also reported in the last century, and, in 1921, Kern reported that a large proportion of patients with chronic asthma had positive skin tests to dust from their own house.
Schwartz: Could you comment on a sort of anecdotal impression I had. You mentioned a comparison of antihistamines and lipoxygenase (LO) antagonists or inhibitors.
Platts-Mills: I don’t know what we are supposed to call a T helper cell that produces predominantly IL-5, perhaps Th-IL-5. The paper actually gives the real numbers for all the T cell lines and it’s quite clear that some of them are producing IL-4 but very little, and I think we are not out of line with many other groups who find it very difficult to get high levels of IL-4 production in these short-term T cell lines. Gleich: That observation would fit very nicely with some observations we made in chronic eosinophilic pneumonia where we saw no IL-4 at all, but high levels of IL-5.