Inflammatory and T-cell profile of asthmatic airways 6 hours after local allergen provocation

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Feb;153(2):515-20. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.153.2.8564090.


T cells in the airways are considered to play a key role in orchestrating the inflammatory response of asthma through the elaboration of specific cytokines. Using flow cytometry we have investigated the T-cell response of sensitized asthmatic airways 6 h after local allergen provocation. Twelve subjects with atopic asthma underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) before and 6 h after local instillation of allergen into the right middle lobe (RML) and saline into the right upper lobe (RUL). Allergen challenge produced a significant 26% fall in FEV1, an increase in eosinophils in BAL at 6 h, and at 24 h an increase in methacholine responsiveness compatible with late-phase airway inflammation. When compared with saline challenge, allergen produced an overall decrease in the number of BAL lymphocytes from 21.3 +/- 2.8% to 16.0 +/- 3.08% of total cells but no change in the proportion of CD4+, CD8+, CD25+, or HLA-DR+ cells. Allergen provocation reduced the proportion of T cells expressing the beta 2 integrin lymphocyte functional antigen-1 (LFA-1) from 72.5 +/- 30 to 43.9 +/- 9.1 mean fluorescent units (p < 0.01) and a similar trend in intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) (p = 0.08). These results indicate that late-phase inflammatory events 6 h after local allergen provocation involve the selective retention of airway T cells expressing specific cell adhesion molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens*
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchi / immunology*
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cell Count
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, CD
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1