Intrapulmonary antigen deposition in the human lung: local responses.

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We hypothesized that, as in animal models, localized deposition of antigen into the human lung would induce local inflammatory and immune responses in antigen-exposed sites. To test this hypothesis, segmental instillation of a well-characterized, highly immunogenic, soluble antigen, keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) was performed in 10 healthy, nonsmoking volunteers. Ten to fifteen days after instillation, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed in immunized segments (IS) and contralateral control segments (CS) and local responses to antigen instillation were assessed by comparing IS and CS BAL. Greater albumin concentrations and cell recoveries were found in IS than in CS BAL, suggesting local inflammation. Although total numbers of each cell type were increased, relative proportions of alveolar macrophages, lymphocytes, and neutrophils were similar in IS and CS BAL. CD4/CD8 ratios in IS BAL samples were greater than those in CS samples, because of higher numbers of CD4+ lymphocytes in IS than in CS BAL but similar numbers of CD8+ lymphocytes. Anti-KLH IgG and IgA concentrations were greater in IS than in CS BAL. However, anti-KLH IgG/albumin ratios were similar in IS BAL and serum, suggesting that anti-KLH IgG had reached IS by passive transudation from the circulation. In contrast, anti-KLH IgA/albumin concentrations were greater in IS BAL than in serum, suggesting local production, and/or active transport of serum-derived anti-KLH IgA into the IS. Fractionation of serum and IS BAL on sucrose gradients demonstrated that anti-KLH IgA activity was largely associated with 11S polymeric IgA in both locations.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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