Sputum eosinophilia after asthmatic responses induced by isocyanates in sensitized subjects

Clin Exp Allergy. 1994 Jan;24(1):29-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1994.tb00913.x.


To assess the nature and the time-course of the cellular component of airway inflammation induced by isocyanates, we examined nine subjects with occupational asthma induced by toluene- or methylene diphenyl-diisocyanate (TDI, MDI) and four control subjects never exposed to isocyanates. Sputum was induced by inhalation of ultrasonically nebulized hypertonic saline (3-4% NaCl) before and 8, 24, 48 h after inhalation challenge with TDI or MDI. Expectorated samples were incubated with dithiothreitol, washed and cytocentrifuged. Differential cell counts were obtained on slides stained with May-Grünwald-Giemsa. Metachromatic cells (mast cells and basophils) were counted on slides stained with toluidine blue at pH 0.1. One occupational asthmatic exhibited a dual reaction to TDI, two exhibited a single early asthmatic reaction to MDI, six exhibited a late asthmatic reaction to TDI (n = 5) or MDI (n = 1), whereas no reactions were observed in control subjects after TDI challenge. In sensitized subjects eosinophils increased from a median value (interquartile range) of 5 (15)% before challenge to 29 (29)% (P = 0.014) and to 30 (31)% (P = 0.031) 8 and 24 h after TDI/MDI challenges, respectively. Sputum eosinophilia was observed both in early and late reactors and declined to near to baseline values 48 hr after challenge. Percentages of eosinophils in control subjects did not exceed 7% during the study.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Asthma / chemically induced*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / chemically induced
  • Eosinophilia / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isocyanates / adverse effects*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Sputum / cytology*
  • Toluene 2,4-Diisocyanate / adverse effects*


  • Aerosols
  • Isocyanates
  • Toluene 2,4-Diisocyanate
  • 2,6-diisocyanatotoluene
  • 4,4'-diphenylmethane diisocyanate