Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor by human eosinophils: upregulation by granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-5

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1997 Jul;17(1):70-7. doi: 10.1165/ajrcmb.17.1.2796.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a pleiotropic polypeptide that mediates endothelial-cell-specific responses such as induction of proliferation and vascular leakage. We examined the expression of VEGF messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein by human eosinophils in response to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-5 (IL-5). Immunoreactive VEGF protein was detected in freshly isolated eosinophils by immunocytochemistry. Eosinophils spontaneously released VEGF protein in culture medium, and this release was upregulated by GM-CSF or IL-5. Freshly isolated eosinophils constitutively expressed VEGF mRNA. Although incubation of eosinophils in culture medium reduced steady-state VEGF mRNA levels, eosinophil VEGF mRNA levels were enhanced by GM-CSF and IL-5, and this enhancement was blocked by the transcription inhibitor actinomycin D. Analysis of alternatively spliced mRNA species revealed that eosinophils contained transcripts mainly encoding for the 121- and 165-amino-acid forms of VEGF. VEGF mRNA expression and VEGF release in cytokine-stimulated eosinophils were significantly reduced by treatment with a glucocorticosteroid, a protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor, or a protein kinase C inhibitor. Cytokine-activated eosinophils may be an important source of a vascular permeability factor, namely VEGF, thus contributing to tissue edema formation at sites of allergic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids
  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / blood
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Eosinophils / drug effects
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Eosinophils / metabolism*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genistein
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-5 / pharmacology*
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology
  • Lymphokines / biosynthesis*
  • Lymphokines / blood
  • Phenanthridines / pharmacology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Protein Kinase C / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-5
  • Isoflavones
  • Lymphokines
  • Phenanthridines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Dexamethasone
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Genistein
  • chelerythrine
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein Kinase C