Induction of hyperresponsiveness in human airway tissue by neutrophils--mechanism of action

Clin Exp Allergy. 1996 May;26(5):549-56.


Background: The two main features of asthma are bronchial hyperresponsiveness and inflammation. The inflammatory response in asthma consists of infiltration and activation of a variety of inflammatory cells including neutrophils. Our previous studies have shown that stimulated neutrophil supernatants cause hyperresponsiveness of human bronchial tissue in vitro.

Objective: To investigate the effect of the sensitization status of the tissue and the albumin concentration used to prepare supernatants on the response of human bronchial tissue to stimulated neutrophil supernatants.

Methods: Neutrophil supernatants were prepared from human isolated blood in the presence of varying concentrations of albumin (0%, 0.1% and 4%). Neutrophil supernatants were added to sensitized and non-sensitized human isolated bronchial tissue which was stimulated with electrical field stimulation (EFS) (20 s every 4 min). Receptor antagonists specific for the prostaglandin and thromboxane (10(-7) M GR32191), platelet activating factor (10(-6) M WEB 2086), leukotriene D4 (10(-6) M MK-679) and neurokinin A (10(-7) M SR48968) receptors were used to identify neutrophil products responsible for the effects observed in the bronchial tissue.

Results: In non-sensitized human bronchial tissue, stimulated neutrophil supernatants induced a direct contraction in the presence of 0% and 0.1% but not 4% albumin. This contraction was due to leukotriene D4 as MK-679 completely inhibited the contraction. In contrast, stimulated neutrophil supernatants increased responsiveness of sensitized human bronchial tissue to EFS. The increased responsiveness was observed only in the presence of 0.1% albumin, with the site of modulation likely to be prejunctional on the parasympathetic nerve. The increased responsiveness was not inhibited by any of the antagonists tested.

Conclusion: Sensitization status of the tissue and albumin concentration effect the responsiveness of human bronchial tissue to stimulated neutrophil supernatant. Our results suggest a possible role for neutrophils in hyperresponsiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchi / immunology*
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / etiology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Immunization / methods
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / pathology*
  • Serum Albumin / immunology


  • Serum Albumin