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Exp Lung Res. 1992 Sep-Oct;18(5):583-93.

Eosinophils and major basic protein damage but do not detach human amniotic epithelial cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Nedlands.


Damage and detachment of epithelial cells is thought to contribute to the pathologenesis of asthma. Both eosinophils and neutrophils are found in asthmatic airways and several studies have suggested that eosinophils may be responsible for the epithelial cell detachment of asthma. To compare the capacity of purified human eosinophils and neutrophils to mediate epithelial cell detachment, we utilized a human amniotic epithelial cell-basement membrane model that we have recently described. Activated eosinophils induced little detachment at 4 h (less than 10% detachment), which contrasted with that seen with equivalent numbers of identically handled neutrophils (29 +/- 6% detachment, p less than .05). In contrast, eosinophils did induce damage to epithelial cells to an extent similar to neutrophils when assessed using a 51Cr release assay (17 +/- 6% and 18 +/- 9% release of 51Cr, respectively). When purified preparations of the major eosinophil-derived protein major basic protein (MBP) were studied, similar effects on epithelial cells were observed, i.e., damage (77 +/- 13% release of 51Cr) without detachment (less than 5% cell detachment). These data suggest that neutrophils are more effective in inducing detachment of human epithelial cells, whereas both eosinophils and neutrophils damage human epithelial cells.

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