IL-5 is a pleiotropic cytokine that promotes eosinophil differentiation and survival. While naïve bronchial epithelial cells (BEC) produce low levels of IL-5, the role of BEC-derived IL-5 in allergic airway inflammation is unknown. We now show that BEC, isolated from mice with OVA-induced allergic airway disease (AAD), produced elevated levels of IL-5 mRNA and protein as compared to BEC from naïve mice. To determine the contribution of BEC-derived IL-5 to effector responses in the airways, IL-5 deficient bone marrow chimeric mice were generated in which IL-5 expression was restricted to stromal (e.g. BEC) or hematopoietic cells. When subjected to AAD, IL-5 produced by BECs contributed to mucous metaplasia, airway eosinophilia, and OVA-specific IgA levels. Thus, IL-5 production by BEC can impact the microenvironment of the lung, modifying pathologic and protective immune responses in the airways.
2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.