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Fed Proc. 1987 Jan;46(1):105-12.

The inflammatory reaction in the airways in an animal model of the late asthmatic response.


The late asthmatic response is defined as airway obstruction that occurs hours after antigen exposure in some atopic asthmatics. The importance of this reaction is that the airway obstruction may be severe, prolonged, and difficult to control unless corticosteroids are employed. In addition, this response may lead to an increase in airway reactivity. To investigate the immunopathogenesis of this disorder, an animal model in rabbits was developed. In this model, antigen-specific IgE was associated with the late asthmatic response and antigen-specific IgG was associated with blunting of the reaction. Antigen challenge of immune rabbits led to edema within the large airways shortly after antigen exposure, with infiltration of inflammatory cells (neutrophils and eosinophils) into the large and small airways during the late response. The infiltrates became more mononuclear with time and resolved over 10 days. As in humans, the late response was associated with an increase in airway reactivity and correlated temporally with infiltration of the airways with neutrophils and eosinophils. The contribution of granulocytic cells to the airway responses to antigen was studied by granulocyte depletion, which prevented both the late response and the heightened airway reactivity. In addition, transfusion of a neutrophil-rich population of white cells into granulocytopenic immune rabbits restored both responses. Thus, in this animal model, the antigen-induced late asthmatic response and subsequent increase in airway reactivity were dependent on the presence of granulocytes at the time of exposure to antigen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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