Association between inflammation and epithelial damage-restitution processes in allergic airways in vivo

Clin Exp Allergy. 1997 Nov;27(11):1344-55.


Background: Associations between allergen challenge-induced sites of epithelial damage and the distribution of leucocytes and extravasated plasma remain unexplored.

Objective: To study neutrophils, eosinophils, and fibrinogen at allergen challenge-induced patchy epithelial damage-restitution sites in guinea-pig trachea.

Methods: After local challenge tracheal tissue (cryo sections and whole-mounts) and lumen (selective tracheal lavage) were examined at 1, 5, and 24 h. Eosinophils, neutrophils and fibrinogen were identified by histochemistry.

Results: Neutrophils increased markedly in tracheal lavage fluids and in tissue and were strongly associated with the challenge-induced epithelial craters of damage-restitution. At 1 and 24 h eosinophils were increased in the tracheal lumen whereas the surrounding tissue displayed a reversed pattern. Gels rich in fibrinogen, neutrophils, and eosinophils were present in epithelial crater areas, protruding into the lumen. Clusters of free eosinophil granules, Cfegs, released through lysis of eosinophils, and neutrophils with long cytoplasmatic protrusions abounded in these crater areas.

Conclusion: The present findings provide important new insights into allergic airways where sites of epithelial damage-restitution processes emerge as the major loci for eosinophil, neutrophil, and plasma protein activities, the latter likely causing leukocyte adhesion and activation in vivo. The distribution of eosinophils in this study suggests roles of these cells both in airway mucosa and in regional lymph nodes. Based on the present study we also propose that lysis of eosinophils and Cfegs generation are a major paradigm for activation of these cells in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Tracheitis / etiology
  • Tracheitis / immunology
  • Tracheitis / pathology*


  • Allergens