Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Influence of endogenous cortisol on eosinophil function in sensitized pigs: direct measurements of eosinophil peroxidase.

PMID 8732245


Eosinophils are associated with bronchial asthma, but the role of the eosinophil is not fully understood. This study was initiated in order to study the influence of endogenous cortisol on eosinophil recruitment and activation in allergic inflammation in the lower airways in the pig. Polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies against porcine eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) were raised. Detection of eosinophils in blood smears and lung biopsy specimens was achieved using the polyclonal antibody. For determination of porcine EPO in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with a detection limit of 0.15 micrograms/L was developed. No cross-reactivity with porcine myeloperoxidase was found. Pigs that had been actively sensitized with repeated subcutaneous injections of Ascaris suum antigen were acutely challenged with antigen in the lower airways under pentobarbitone anaesthesia. Control animals with plasma cortisol levels of approximately 400 nM did not exhibit infiltration of eosinophils into lung parenchyma or EPO-release in the bronchial lumen within 8 h after challenge. However, in pigs treated with a cortisol-synthesis inhibitor (metyrapone), resulting in plasma cortisol levels of approximately 40 nM, there was a marked eosinophil infiltration into lung tissue at 8 h. Furthermore, EPO levels in BAL fluid were increased in some, although not all, low-cortisol animals. There was no infiltration of eosinophils into skin tissue in these animals. It is concluded that, after allergen challenge in the lower airways of metyrapone-treated pigs, newly recruited eosinophils infiltrate lung tissue specifically. Furthermore, a cortisol-sensitive release of the eosinophil-derived cationic protein EPO, into the bronchial lumen was established. This is, to our knowledge, the first description of direct measurements of the release of an eosinophil granule protein in a large animal model of allergy.