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Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 1993;48(1):6-15.

Phenotypic features and secretory pattern of alveolar macrophages in atopic asthmatic patients.

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Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases S. Marcatili, 1st Medical and Surgical School, II University of Naples, Italy.


The aim of this study was to evaluate by cytofluorimetry, the phenotype and the activation of alveolar macrophages (CD14; CD33; CD44; CD54; CD23; HLA-DR) and, by radioimmunoassay, the "in vivo and in vitro" macrophage secretory pattern (IL-1 alpha; IL-1 beta; IL6; IL8; PGE2; PGD-1 alpha; TXB2; LTB4) in atopic patients with mild asthma in intercritical phase and with bronchial hyperreactivity (PD20 FEV1 = 377 +/- 262.8 micrograms). In asthmatic patients we have demonstrated that the number of cells recovered in BALF expressing the phenotypic features (CD14; CD33; HLA-DR; CD23; CD44; CD54) was larger than in control subjects. By analysing the culture medium of unstimulated and LPS-stimulated alveolar macrophages from asthmatic and normals we have demonstrated a greater production of IL-1 beta (p = 0.005) and IL-8 (p = 0.005) in the first group than in one second, as confirmed by a Wilcoxon test. Concerning the secretory pattern in BALF of asthmatic patients we obtained similar results, showing a significant IL-1 beta (p = 0.005) and IL-8 (p = 0.002) increase suggesting a persistent cellular activation. On the contrary we could not show any significant increase of IL-1 alpha (p = 0.31) and IL-6 (p = 0.22). The cellular activation was confirmed by increased levels of different chemical mediators such as TXB2 (p = 0.005); LTB4 (p = 0.004); PGE2 (p = 0.007); PGF-1 alpha (p = 0.008) which were recovered from BALF of asthmatic patients compared to normal subjects. In conclusion alveolar macrophages play an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma because of the presence of cytokines and mediators in BALF and in the supernatant of alveolar macrophage cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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