To investigate nonimmune pathogenic functions of pollens, vascular permeability enhancement (VPE) activity of pollen extracts was examined using guinea pigs nonimmunized against pollens. Ryegrass, ragweed, mesquite and almond, but not common cattail and sumac, induced VPE which was inhibited primarily by an anti-histamine drug. Ryegrass pollen VPE activity was extracted more at pH 7.3 than at pH 6.5 or 8.0 and the maximal activity was extracted in 30 min. Interestingly, more than 60% of the maximal activity was extracted in 5 min. The maximal VPE activity had a dose-dependency similar to histamine (3 × 10––5M) but lasted longer than the histamine activity. The VPE activity was inhibited by oligomannose-glycosylated ovalbumin or avidin, as well as the oligosaccharides but not by the deglycosylated proteins. These results indicate that some pollens contain lectin-like, histamine-releasing factor(s), which may be involved in part in pollinosis, by inducing mast cell degranulation through a nonimmune mechanism and resulting in allergy-like symptoms.

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