Diesel exhaust particulates (DEP) are a common air pollutant from diesel-engine-powered car exhaust and are thought to cause chronic airway diseases. On the other hand, eosinophils are major components of allergic inflammatory disorders such as asthma, nasal allergy and atopic dermatitis. We examined the effects of DEP and DEP extract (extract of polyaromatic hydrocarbons) on eosinophil adhesion, survival rate and degranulation. Eosinophils, human mucosal microvascular endothelial cells (HMMECs) and human nasal epithelial cells (HNECs) were preincubated in the presence or absence of DEP and DEP extract. 35S-labeled eosinophils were allowed to adhere to monolayers of HMMECs and HNECs. After washing, 35S radioactivity was determined and numbers of adherent eosinophils were calculated using each standard curve. The effects of DEP and DEP extract on eosinophil survival rate and degranulation were also determined. Although neither DEP nor DEP extract affected the adhesiveness of HMMECs and HNECs to eosinophils, 5 ng/ml of DEP extract and 50 ng/ml of DEP extract each significancy increased eosinophil adhesiveness to HNECs (134+/-9 and 143+/-8%, respectively; p<0.01 vs. control), but neither effected eosinophil adhesiveness to HMMECs. DEP extract also induced eosinophil degranulation without changing the eosinophil survival rate. Given that eosinophil-derived lipid mediators and toxic proteins play important roles in the development of nasal allergy, the above findings strongly suggest that DEP plays an important role in promoting the nasal hypersensitivity induced by enhanced eosinophil infiltration of epithelium and eosinophil degranulation.