Endobronchial allergen challenge in asthma. Demonstration of cellular source of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor by in situ hybridization

J Clin Invest. 1991 Sep;88(3):1048-53. doi: 10.1172/JCI115366.


Airway inflammation is thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma. We have used in situ hybridization and an immunoassay to determine whether granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) (a cytokine capable of eosinophil activation) is present in the airway of asthmatics (n = 6) who have 37.0 +/- 15.1% airway eosinophilia after endobronchial allergen challenge. Levels of immunoreactive GM-CSF (less than 4 pg/ml pre-allergen versus 180.5 +/- 46.9 pg/ml post-allergen) increased significantly 24 h after endobronchial allergen stimulation. The cellular source of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) GM-CSF, as determined by in situ hybridization and immunoperoxidase staining, was derived predominantly from UCHL-1 positive BAL lymphocytes, as well as from a smaller population of alveolar macrophages. Before local endobronchial allergen challenge, less than 1% of lymphocytes and alveolar macrophages recovered by BAL expressed GM-CSF mRNA, whereas after allergen stimulation 92.6 +/- 3.4% of lymphocytes and 17.5 +/- 22.7% of alveolar macrophages expressed GM-CSF mRNA. This study provides evidence that in an experimental model of allergen-induced asthma, activation of the immune and inflammatory response (BAL lymphocyte and alveolar macrophage production of GM-CSF) is temporally associated with an inflammatory cell influx of eosinophils into the airway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Asthma / metabolism*
  • Bronchi / chemistry*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Female
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / analysis*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / immunology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / chemistry
  • Male
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / chemistry*


  • Allergens
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor