Functional and phenotypic characteristics of bronchial epithelial cells obtained by brushing from asthmatic and normal subjects
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Bronchial epithelial cells may be involved in the pathogenesis of asthma releasing several inflammatory mediators such as interleukins and lipoxygenase products. In this study we evaluated the spontaneous and A23128-induced release of 15-HETE, PGE2 and fibronectin as well as the spontaneous expression of HLA-DR and ICAM-1 molecules by bronchial epithelial cells obtained by bronchial brushing from 35 asthmatic and 27 normal subjects. The release of fibronectin and 15-HETE was studied using the EIA and RIA techniques. The expression of HLA-DR and ICAM-1 molecules was studied using the APAAP and the immunofluorescence methods. Bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics released higher amounts of 15-HETE and fibronectin both spontaneously (p < 0.002, p < 0.05, respectively) or after stimulation with calcium ionophore compared with normals. On the other hand, PGE2 release was significantly higher only after stimulation with calcium ionophore (p < 0.002). The spontaneous expression of HLA-DR and ICAM-1 (p < 0.001) was significantly higher on epithelial cells from asthmatics than in normal subjects. Finally, the severity of asthma significantly correlated with the release of 15-HETE (p < 0.02) and the expression of HLA-DR and ICAM-1 respectively (p < 0.001 and p < 0.002, respectively). This study indicates that bronchial epithelial cells are in an activated state in asthma and that the degree of activation is correlated to the severity of the disease.
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