Granulocyte/Macrophage Colony-stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) Gene Expression by Eosinophils in Nasal Polyposis
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Nasal polyposis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the upper airways characterized by infiltration of activated inflammatory cells, particularly eosinophils. Granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a cytokine with powerful biologic effects including the regulation of survival, proliferation, and activation of granulocytes as well as differentiation of hemopoietic cells. To examine the potential role of GM-CSF in the pathogenesis of this condition, we investigated gene expression and production of GM-CSF in nasal polyp tissues as well as in the normal nasal mucosa. Immunoreactive GM-CSF was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the 24-h supernatant of nasal polyp tissues placed in culture. By Northern blot analysis and Southern blot analysis following a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction using a human GM-CSF cDNA probe, we detected GM-CSF mRNA in nasal polyp tissues, as well as in the tissue from a patient with allergic rhinitis, but not in the normal nasal mucosa. By in situ hybridization using the same probe, cells expressing mRNA specific for GM-CSF were observed in nasal polyp tissues and in the allergic nasal mucosa. In addition, by the combination of in situ hybridization and counterstaining with chromotrope 2R, we demonstrated that approximately 30% of eosinophils infiltrating the polyp tissue express the GM-CSF gene. These results suggest a novel mechanism by which eosinophils may contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases such as nasal polyposis, allergic rhinitis, and, by implication, asthma.
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