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Laboratory Sciences
May 1999

Inhibition of Histamine-Induced Human Conjunctival Epithelial Cell Responses by Ocular Allergy Drugs

Author Affiliations

From Ophthalmic Products Research, Alcon Laboratories Inc, Fort Worth, Tex.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117(5):643-647. doi:10.1001/archopht.117.5.643

Objective  To evaluate the effects of topical ocular drugs with histamine H1-antagonist activity on histamine-stimulated phosphatidylinositol turnover and interleukin (IL) 6 and IL-8 secretion from human conjunctival epithelial cells.

Methods  Primary human conjunctival epithelial cell cultures were stimulated with histamine in the presence or absence of test drugs. Phosphatidylinositol turnover was quantified by ion exchange chromatography and cytokine content of supernatants by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results  Antazoline hydrochloride, emedastine difumarate, levocabastine hydrochloride, olopatadine hydrochloride, and pheniramine maleate attenuated histamine-stimulated phosphatidylinositol turnover and IL-6 and IL-8 secretion. Emedastine was the most potent in ligand binding, phosphatidylinositol turnover, and IL-6 secretion, with dissociation constant and 50% inhibitory concentrations of 1-3 nmol/L. Olopatadine, antazoline, and pheniramine exhibited similar H1-binding affinities (32-39 nmol/L). However, olopatadine was approximately 10-fold more potent as an inhibitor of cytokine secretion (50% inhibitory concentration, 1.7-5.5 nmol/L) than predicted from binding data, while antazoline and pheniramine were far less potent (20- to 140-fold) in functional assays. Levocabastine (dissociation constant, 52.6 nmol/L) exhibited greater functional activity (50% inhibitory concentration, 8-25 nmol/L) than either antazoline or pheniramine.

Conclusions  Histamine-stimulated phosphatidylinositol turnover and cytokine secretion by human conjunctival epithelial cells are attenuated by compounds with H1-antagonist activity. However, antihistaminic potency alone does not predict anti-inflammatory potential. Olopatadine, emedastine, and levocabastine were notably more potent than pheniramine and antazoline.

Clinical Relevance  Selected topical ocular drugs with antihistaminic activity may offer therapeutic advantages to patients with allergic conjunctivitis by inhibiting proinflammatory cytokine secretion from human conjunctival epithelial cells.