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Immunology. 2002 Apr;105(4):499-508.

Local T-cell activation after segmental allergen challenge in the lungs of allergic dogs.

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Academic Medical Centre B1-236 and CLB Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Clinical Immunology Laboratory, PO Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Dogs with immunoglobulin E (IgE) allergy for ragweed that are sensitized by intrapulmonary exposure to ragweed can be used to study the pulmonary immune response that is important in allergic asthma. Using this model, we tested the hypothesis that T lymphocytes are activated locally in the airways shortly after allergen exposure of the lungs. The airways of six allergic dogs and three non-allergic dogs were exposed to ragweed by segmental allergen challenge (SAC). T-cell subsets and T-cell activation in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were measured by flow cytometry before SAC and at 4, 24 and 72 hr thereafter. SAC caused a statistically significant increase in the percentage of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-positive CD4 and CD8 T cells in BAL fluid and a significant increase in the mean fluorescent activity of MHC class II from 4 hr after SAC onward. This activation was significantly different from that found in cells from lung lobes challenged with saline, or from lung lobes in non-allergic dogs challenged with ragweed. The percentage of CD45RA(bright) CD8 cells increased significantly in allergic dogs after both ragweed and saline challenges. This was significantly higher than in non-allergic dogs. We conclude that T-cell activation in the airways of dogs can be measured after in vivo activation of the cells by measuring MHC class II and CD45RA expression in BAL fluid T cells. Furthermore, in allergic dogs, T cells are activated locally in the lungs within 4 hr after exposure to ragweed allergen. These results suggest a role for T lymphocytes in the development of late-phase allergic reactions in the airways.

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