The nasal responses to provocation with histamine and methacholine were compared in 20 subjects with and 20 without rhinitis. Two variables were measured: nasal airways resistance and the development of rhinorrhoea. Histamine had a greater effect than methacholine in increasing nasal airways resistance while the converse was true for rhinorrhoea. Rhinitic subjects had a significantly greater response to histamine induced changes in nasal airways resistance (p less than 0.05), rhinorrhoea (p less than 0.05) and methacholine induced rhinorrhoea (p less than 0.01) than those without rhinitis. No significant differences were found between the two groups in methacholine induced changes in nasal airways resistance. The findings show that, like the lower airways of patients with asthma, the nasal mucosa of rhinitic subjects shows a greater responsiveness to non-specific agonists than that of non-rhinitic subjects.
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