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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2000 Sep;23(3):379-88.

The effect of transendothelial migration on eosinophil function.

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Pulmonary Division, Second Department of Internal Medicine, Saitama Medical School, Saitama, Japan.


In bronchial asthma, eosinophils found in the airways have an enhanced inflammatory capacity. We hypothesized that, at least in part, changes in functional phenotype are due to the effect of transendothelial migration. To model in vivo eosinophil trafficking to the lung, we cultured human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell (HPMEC) monolayers on Transwell filters. The HPMECs were activated with interleukin (IL)-1beta to increase cell expression of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and, hence, eosinophil transmigration. Peripheral blood eosinophils from allergic patients were added to HPMEC-covered Transwell filters and incubated for 3 h at 37 degrees C. The eosinophils were collected from below (migrated cells) and above (nonmigrated cells) the HPMEC monolayer to determine surface receptor expression, in vitro survival, and oxidative burst. Eosinophils never exposed to HPMECs were used as controls. Eosinophil cell surface expression of CD69, human leukocyte-associated antigen-DR (HLA-DR), and CD54 (ICAM-1) was significantly increased after transendothelial migration through IL-1beta-treated HPMECs compared with control cells (CD69: P<0.0005; HLA-DR and CD54: P<0.05) and nonmigrated eosinophils (CD69 and HLA-DR: P<0.05). Moreover, the percent in vitro survival (48 h) of migrated eosinophils was also significantly greater (P<0.0001 by trypan blue exclusion, P< 0.05 by flow cytometry) than that of control or nonmigrated eosinophils. Prolonged survival of migrated eosinophils was inhibited by addition of anti-granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) antibodies (P<0.05) to the 48-h survival culture, suggesting that autocrine production of GM-CSF was, at least partially, responsible for increased eosinophil survival. Although GM-CSF protein was not measurable in survival culture supernates, GM-CSF messenger RNA (mRNA) was expressed in both nonmigrated and migrated eosinophils but not in control cells. Similarly, the eosinophils' oxidative burst induced by platelet-activating factor, formylmethionyl leucylphenylalanine, or phorbol myristate acetate was equally, and significantly, increased in both nonmigrated and migrated eosinophils (P<0.05 versus control). Therefore, whereas exposure of eosinophils to cytokine-activated HPMECs can increase surface receptor expression, in vitro survival, GM-CSF mRNA, and the respiratory burst, transendothelial migration can further potentiate receptor expression and survival in migrated cells. These results suggest that the process of transendothelial migration selectively participates in determining the eventual phenotype of airway eosinophils.

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