Antigen-Induced Airway Hyperresponsiveness, Pulmonary Eosinophilia, and Chemokine Expression in B Cell-Deficient Mice

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Murine models of allergen-induced pulmonary inflammation share many features with human asthma, including the development of antigen-induced pulmonary eosinophilia, airway hyperresponsiveness, antigen-specific cellular and antibody responses, the elaboration of Th2 cytokines (interleukin [IL]-4 and IL-5), and the expression of chemokines with activity for eosinophils. We examined the role of B cells and antigen-specific antibody responses in such a model by studying the histopathologic and physiologic responses of B cell-deficient mice compared with wild-type controls, following systemic immunization and airway challenge with ovalbumin (OVA). Both OVA-challenged wild-type and B cell-deficient mice developed (1) airway hyperresponsiveness, (2) pulmonary inflammation with activated T cells and eosinophils, (3) IL-4 and IL-5 secretion into the airway lumen, and (4) increased expression of the eosinophil active chemokines eotaxin and monocyte chemotactic protein-3. There were no significant differences in either the pathologic or physiologic responses in the B cell-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice. These data indicate that B cells and antigen-specific antibodies are not required for the development of airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation, and chemokine expression in sensitized mice following aerosol challenge with antigen.

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