Morphometric analysis of inflammation in bronchial biopsies following exposure to inhaled diesel exhaust and allergen challenge in atopic subjects Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Allergen exposure and air pollution are two risk factors for asthma development and airway inflammation that have been examined extensively in isolation. The impact of combined allergen and diesel exhaust exposure has received considerably less attention. Diesel exhaust (DE) is a major contributor to ambient particulate matter (PM) air pollution, which can act as an adjuvant to immune responses and augment allergic inflammation. We aimed to clarify whether DE increases allergen-induced inflammation and cellular immune response in the airways of atopic human subjects. METHODS: Twelve atopic subjects were exposed to DE 300 μg.m(-3) or filtered air for 2 h in a blinded crossover study design with a four-week washout period between arms. One hour following either filtered air or DE exposure, subjects were exposed to allergen or saline (vehicle control) via segmental challenge. Forty-eight hours post-allergen or control exposure, bronchial biopsies were collected. The study design generated 4 different conditions: filtered air + saline (FAS), DE + saline (DES), filtered air + allergen (FAA) and DE + allergen (DEA). Biopsies sections were immunostained for tryptase, eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), neutrophil elastase (NE), CD138, CD4 and interleukin (IL)-4. The percent positivity of positive cells were quantified in the bronchial submucosa. RESULTS: The percent positivity for tryptase expression and ECP expression remained unchanged in the bronchial submucosa in all conditions. CD4 % positive staining in DEA (0.311 ± 0.060) was elevated relative to FAS (0.087 ± 0.018; p = 0.035). IL-4% positive staining in DEA (0.548 ± 0.143) was elevated relative to FAS (0.127 ± 0.062; p = 0.034). CD138 % positive staining in DEA (0.120 ± 0.031) was elevated relative to FAS (0.017 ± 0.006; p = 0.015), DES (0.044 ± 0.024; p = 0.040), and FAA (0.044 ± 0.008; p = 0.037). CD138% positive staining in FAA (0.044 ± 0.008) was elevated relative to FAS (0.017 ± 0.006; p = 0.049). NE percent positive staining in DEA (0.224 ± 0.047) was elevated relative to FAS (0.045 ± 0.014; p = 0.031). CONCLUSIONS: In vivo allergen and DE co-exposure results in elevated CD4, IL-4, CD138 and NE in the respiratory submucosa of atopic subjects, while eosinophils and mast cells are not changed. TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: Unique identifier: NCT01792232.


  • Hosseini, Ali
  • Hirota, Jeremy
  • Hackett, Tillie L
  • McNagny, Kelly M
  • Wilson, Susan J
  • Carlsten, Chris

publication date

  • December 2015

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