Expression of interleukin-5 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in aspirin-sensitive and non-aspirin-sensitive asthmatic airways

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Nov;156(5):1384-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.156.5.9702072.


Increased numbers of eosinophils and mast cells in the bronchial mucosa are characteristic features in subjects with aspirin-sensitive asthma. Interleukin-5 (IL-5) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) are involved in the activation, maturation, and perpetuation of survival of eosinophils. Immunohistochemical techniques were therefore used to study the expression of IL-5 and GM-CSF on frozen bronchial biopsies from 13 aspirin-sensitive asthmatic (ASA) and 8 non-ASA (NASA) subjects. Aspirin sensitivity was diagnosed by lysine-aspirin inhalation provocation. ASA airways demonstrated a significant 2-fold increase in the total number of submucosal inflammatory cells expressing IL-5 (p = 0.03) and approximate 4- and 2-fold increases in the numbers of mast cells expressing IL-5 and GM-CSF (p = 0.02 and p = 0.04, respectively). There was also a 4-fold increase in the number of eosinophils expressing IL-5 (p = 0.004). These results suggest a central role for the mast cell and eosinophil in regulation of the inflammatory cell infiltrate of ASA airways by secretion of the hemopoietic cytokines IL-5 and GM-CSF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspirin / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / metabolism*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Bronchi / metabolism*
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Cell Count
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / complications*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-5 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology


  • Interleukin-5
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Aspirin