Leukocytes and mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage during allergen-induced late-phase asthmatic reactions

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1989 Jun;139(6):1383-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/139.6.1383.


We have measured the total and differential cell counts, histamine, leukotriene (LT) B4 and LTC4, immunoglobulins, complement (C3), eosinophil-derived basic proteins, and monocyte complement rosettes in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) 6 h after challenge with either antigen or diluent control in seven patients with antigen-induced single early reactions, and seven with dual (early and late phase) reactions. In both groups, the total cell counts in BAL were similar, irrespective of whether they were challenged with antigen or diluent. However, in the late-phase responders (LPR), there were significant increases in lymphocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils (p less than 0.05), and significant decreases in the percentage of lung mast cells (p less than 0.05). The eosinophil major basic protein and eosinophil-derived neurotoxin increased in four of five subjects with dual responses and in the majority of single early responders (SER). BAL histamine concentrations increased in five of seven patients with dual responses. There were no consistent changes in LTB4 concentrations in either the LPR or the SER between diluent and antigen days, but a small but significant increase in LTC4 was observed in the LPR. Concentrations of IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE, C3, and albumin did not differ significantly. The percentage of monocyte complement rosettes also increased significantly (p less than 0.05) in LPR, but not in SER. These findings support the hypothesis that eosinophils and their products play a role in tissue injury in LPR and that eosinophil infiltration may be associated with macrophage activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid* / analysis
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid* / cytology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Complement C3 / analysis
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukotriene B4 / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Ribonucleases*
  • SRS-A / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Allergens
  • Blood Proteins
  • Complement C3
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Immunoglobulins
  • SRS-A
  • Leukotriene B4
  • Histamine
  • Ribonucleases