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J Immunol. 1992 Dec 1;149(11):3710-8.

Comparison of airway and blood eosinophil function after in vivo antigen challenge.

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Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine, Madison 53792.


Eosinophils (EOS) are important effector cells in allergic diseases and asthma. However, functional characteristics of the EOS have been derived primarily from studies of blood cells, and it is unlikely that such assessments reflect events occurring in tissues or airways. To establish more precisely the function of airway EOS, segmental Ag challenge was used to elicit and isolate large numbers of these cells. Airway, as well as blood, EOS were isolated from allergic patients 48 h after segmental Ag challenge. Both blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) EOS were fractionated over Percoll density gradients; by using this protocol, three density-distinct populations of pure (>90%) EOS were obtained from BAL fluid (1.100, 1.095, and 1.090 g/ml) and one from blood (1.100 g/ml). The functions of these various populations were compared by measuring superoxide generation, adherence to collagen and endothelial cell monolayers, cell surface receptors, and in vitro survival. BAL EOS of all three densities had greater superoxide generation and adherence with FMLP activation than did corresponding blood EOS. In contrast, blood and airway EOS responded similarly to PMA. BAL EOS also had increased expression of CD11b/CD18 and HLA-DR. The intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) was measured with the fluorescent marker indo-1/acetoxymethyl ester. FMLP caused a greater and more sustained increase in [Ca2+]i with BAL than blood EOS. EGTA blocked the sustained component of the [Ca2+]i response to FMLP. Our findings indicate that BAL EOS have an enhanced [Ca2+]i response to activation that may contribute to their functional up-regulation.

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