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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2004 May;30(5):736-43. Epub 2003 Nov 20.

Expression of interleukin-5- and granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor-responsive genes in blood and airway eosinophils.

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Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, 1300 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Because interleukin (IL)-5 family cytokines are critical regulators of eosinophil development, recruitment, and activation, this study was initiated to identify proteins induced by these cytokines in eosinophils. Using oligonucleotide microarrays, numerous transcripts were identified as responsive to both IL-5 and granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), but no transcripts were markedly affected by one cytokine and not the other. Expression of several gene products were seen to be increased following in vitro stimulation of human blood eosinophils, including the IL-3 receptor alpha subunit, lymphotoxin beta, Pim-1, and cyclin D3. Given that eosinophils recovered from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of allergic patients after antigen challenge are exposed to IL-5 or GM-CSF in the airway prior to isolation, the hypothesis was tested that selected IL-5- and GM-CSF-responsive genes are upregulated in airway eosinophils relative to the expression in blood cells. Airway eosinophils displayed greater cell surface expression of the IL-3 receptor alpha subunit, CD44, CD25, and CD66e, suggesting that these proteins may be markers of eosinophil activation by IL-5 family cytokines in airway eosinophils. Other genes that were induced by both IL-5 and GM-CSF showed protein expression at similar or decreased levels in airway eosinophils relative to their circulating counterparts (i.e., lymphotoxin beta and CD24). These studies have identified several transcriptional targets of IL-5 and GM-CSF in human eosinophils and suggest that a number of protein products are critical to the responsiveness of airway eosinophils.

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