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Co-treatment with Fexofenadine and Budesonide Increases FoxP3 Gene Expression in Patients with Allergic Rhinitis.

BACKGROUND: T helper type 2 (Th2), Th17, and regulatory T cells (Tregs) play essential roles in the pathogenesis and control of allergic rhinitis (AR). Fexofenadine and budesonide are first-line treatments for AR. This study aimed to investigate the effect of co-treatment with fexofenadine and budesonide on the expression of Th2, Th17, and Treg-specific transcription factors (GATA-binding protein 3 [GATA-3], RAR-related orphan receptor gamma [RORγt], and forkhead box P3 [FoxP3], respectively) in AR patients.

METHODS: In this study, 29 AR patients were co-treated with fexofenadine and budesonide for 1 month. Blood was collected from AR patients before and after 1 month of treatment. The gene expression levels of GATA-3, RORγt, and FoxP3 transcription factors in blood samples were measured. In addition, serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels and eosinophil percentages in blood samples were determined.

FINDINGS: The expression level of FoxP3 increased significantly after treatment compared with that before treatment ( P  < .001). In contrast, GATA-3 and RORγt expression levels did not show any noticeable changes. In addition, the percentage of peripheral blood eosinophils significantly decreased ( P  < .01). Serum IgE levels decreased compared with those before treatment, but the difference was not statistically significant. Furthermore, the clinical symptoms of the patients improved compared with those before treatment.

CONCLUSION: Our results showed that combined treatment with fexofenadine and budesonide increased the expression level of the FoxP3 gene, decreased the percentage of peripheral blood eosinophils, and improved the clinical symptoms of AR patients. This regimen appears to improve disease symptoms, at least in part by increasing the Treg population and decreasing the eosinophil population.

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