Julia Metz 1,2, Katharina Knoth 1, Henrik Groß 1, Claus-Michael Lehr 1,2,3, Carolin Stäbler 4, Udo Bock 5, and Marius Hittinger 1
1Department of Drug Delivery, PharmBioTec GmbH, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
2Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Department of Pharmacy, Saarland University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
3Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI), 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
4Department of Scientific Affairs Consumer Health, Bayer Vital GmbH, 51368 Leverkusen, Germany
5Bock Project Management, 54456 Tawern, Germany
In this study two innovative in vitro techniques were combined: The Vitrocell® Powder Chamber and the human cell based MucilAir™ system. Their combined use allows the investigation of the effect of aerosolized pollen and appropriate drugs on a human mucosal tissue, a similar scenario finding in humans. The release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α) was quantified as an initial cellular response to pollen contact and to confirm the protective effect of drugs.
Hay fever is notoriously triggered when nasal mucosa is exposed to allergenic pollen. One possibility to overcome this pollen exposure may be the application of an ointment with physical protective effects. In this context, we have investigated Bepanthen® Eye and Nose Ointment and the ointment basis petrolatum as reference while using contemporary in vitro techniques. Pollen from false ragweed (Iva xanthiifolia) was used as an allergy-causing model deposited as aerosol using the Vitrocell® Powder Chamber (VPC) on Transwell® inserts, while being coated with either Bepanthen® Eye and Nose Ointment and petrolatum. No pollen penetration into ointments was observed upon confocal scanning laser microscopy during an incubation period of 2 h at 37 °C. The cellular response was further investigated by integrating the MucilAir™ cell system in the VPC and by applying pollen to Bepanthen® Eye and Nose Ointment covered cell cultures. For comparison, MucilAir™ were stimulated by lipopolysaccharides (LPS). No increased cytokine release of IL-6, TNF-α, or IL-8 was found after 4 h of pollen exposure, which demonstrates the safety of such ointments. Since nasal ointments act as a physical barrier against pollen, such preparations might support the prevention and management of hay fever.