The development of chronic allergic dermatitis in early life has been associated with increased onset and severity of allergic asthma later in life. However, the mechanisms linking these two diseases are poorly understood. In this study, we report that the development of oxazolone-induced chronic allergic dermatitis, in a mouse model, caused enhanced OVA-induced allergic asthma after the resolution of the former disease. Our findings show that oxazolone-induced dermatitis caused a marked increase in tissue mast cells, which persisted long after the resolution of this disease. Subsequent OVA sensitization and airway challenge of mice that had recovered from dermatitis resulted in increased allergic airway hyperreactivity. The findings demonstrate that the accumulation of mast cells during dermatitis has the detrimental effect of increasing allergic airway hypersensitivity. Importantly, our findings also show that exposure to a given allergen can modify the immune response to an unrelated allergen.
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