Background: Eosinophils are seen at sites of inflammation in diseases such as helminthic infestation, asthma, ulcerative colitis and some neoplastic diseases. They are also associated with connective tissue remodelling, for example in longstanding asthma. In the present study, we investigated whether eosinophils express the CXC chemokine epithelial cell-derived neutrophil activating peptide (ENA-78/CXCL5), a chemokine that can activate neutrophils and in addition possesses angiogenic properties. Immunocytochemistry detected CXCL5 in eosinophils and the peptide was localized in the specific granules by immunoelectron microscopy.
Methods and results: In eosinophil lysates, 12 +/- 2 pg (mean +/- SEM) of CXCL5 was detected per 106 cells by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Weak constitutive expression of CXCL5, as well as the related CXC chemokine IL-8/CXCL8, could be detected in freshly isolated eosinophils by RT-PCR. However, during prolonged incubation of eosinophils, a strong increase in both CXCL5 and IL-8/CXCL8 expression was seen, as detected by RT-PCR, and increasing amounts of CXCL5 peptide with time were detected in the incubation medium by ELISA. Addition of TNF-alpha neutralizing antibodies during prolonged incubation significantly inhibited CXCL5 production, demonstrating involvement of auto- and paracrine effects from TNF-alpha produced by eosinophils themselves. Addition of IFN-gamma showed a strong inhibitory effect on CXCL5 synthesis.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that, through expression of CXCL5, eosinophils can recruit and activate CXC receptor 2 (CXCR2)-bearing cells such as neutrophils at sites of inflammation. Eosinophils may also promote connective tissue remodelling through release of this peptide.