Effects of an Oral CRTh2 Antagonist (AZD1981) on Eosinophil Activity and Symptoms in Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria

Eric Tyrell Oliver, Kris Chichester, Kelly Devine, Patricia Meghan Sterba, Craig Wegner, Becky Marie Vonakis, Sarbjit Singh Saini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Approximately 50% of patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) experience symptoms that are not fully controlled by antihistamines, indicating an unmet clinical need. Objective: To evaluate the effects of the selective CRTh2 antagonist AZD1981 on symptoms and targeted leukocytes in adults with persistent CSU despite treatment with H 1-antihistamines. Methods: We performed a single-center, randomized, placebo-controlled study involving adult CSU subjects with symptoms despite daily antihistamines. The subjects underwent a 2-week placebo run-in and 4 weeks of double-blinded therapy with either AZD1981 40 mg TID or placebo, followed by a 2-week placebo washout. The primary objective was to assess the effect of AZD1981 on CSU signs and symptoms. Secondary objectives included the effects of AZD1981 on prostaglandin D 2 (PGD 2)-induced eosinophil shape change, circulating leukocyte subsets, CRTh2 expression on blood leukocytes, and total blood leukocyte histamine content. Results: Twenty-eight subjects were randomized to AZD1981 or placebo, with 26 subjects completing the study. The urticaria activity scores declined during the treatment phase in both groups, and they were significantly reduced in the AZD1981 group at the end of washout. AZD1981 treatment increased circulating eosinophils and significantly impaired PGD 2-mediated eosinophil shape change. CRTh2 surface expression rose significantly on blood basophils during active treatment. No serious adverse events were observed. Conclusions: This is the first study to examine the efficacy of a CRTh2 antagonist in antihistamine-refractory CSU. AZD1981 treatment was well tolerated, effectively inhibited PGD 2-mediated eosinophil shape change, shifted numbers of circulating eosinophils, and reduced weekly itch scores more than hives during treatment and into washout. Further studies are needed to determine whether inhibition of the PGD 2/CRTh2 pathway will be an-effective treatment for CSU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalInternational archives of allergy and immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Basophils
  • CRTh2
  • Clinical trial
  • Eosinophil
  • Prostaglandin D
  • Urticaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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