Glucocorticoids (GCs) are routinely believed to work solely through genomic mechanisms. Recent evidence indicates that GCs can act at the membrane to exert rapid nongenomic effects on various tissues and cells. To ascertain whether nongenomic effects of GCs exist on the allergic asthma reaction, Hartley guinea pigs were sensitized with ovalbumin and challenged with the same antigen given by aerosol. Some animals received inhaled budesonide (3 mg/ml suspended in Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose vehicle) for 5 minutes before ovalbumin challenge; Other animals received saline or blank vehicle as control. We measured the changes of lung resistance and dynamic lung compliance, the pulmonary function used to evaluate allergic asthma severity. Inhaled budesonide inhibited allergic reaction within 10 minutes, which would preclude genomic-mediated responses that normally takes several hours to occur. This study infers for the first time that rapid nongenomic effect of GCs exists on allergic asthma reaction, and provides a new way to investigate nongenomic mechanism of GCs. Further study would raise the possibility of new therapeutic strategies for allergic disease including asthma.
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