Blood eosinophils from atopic donors express messenger RNA for the α, β, and γ subunits of the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcϵRI) and intracellular, but not cell surface, α subunit protein Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Blood eosinophils from hypereosinophilic donors were previously reported to possess the functional high-affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilon RI), so providing a potential mechanism to account for eosinophil degranulation in atopic allergic disease. Furthermore, tissue eosinophils from allergic tissue reactions were shown to be mRNA(+) for the alpha, beta, and gamma subunits of Fc epsilon RI and gave positive immunostaining with an anti-Fc epsilon RI-alpha antibody. Recent studies, however, revealed negative surface staining on peripheral blood eosinophils, but intracellular Fc epsilon RI-alpha protein was identified by Western blot analysis. OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to examine on peripheral blood eosinophils from atopic subjects (1) surface expression and mRNA for Fc epsilon RI-alpha, (2) up-regulation of Fc epsilon RI-alpha by allergy-associated tissue factors, and (3) Fc epsilon RI-alpha-dependent release of eosinophil peroxidase (EPO). METHODS: We measured (1) Fc epsilon RI mRNA expression by in situ hybridization, (2) Fc epsilon RI-alpha by flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry (with use of nonpermeabilized and permeabilized cells), and (3) Fc epsilon RI-alpha-dependent release of EPO. RESULTS: Eosinophils from atopic donors had negligible surface expression of Fc epsilon RI-alpha, which was not enhanced by culture with IgE, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, GM-CSF, or fibronectin or coculture with fibroblasts. Permeabilization, however, revealed appreciable intracellular staining for Fc epsilon RI-alpha. The majority of eosinophils were mRNA(+) for the alpha, beta, and gamma subunits of Fc epsilon RI. Small but significant (P =.03) increases in alpha chain mRNA expression were observed after coculture of eosinophils with fibroblasts but not with IgE, IL-4, or fibronectin. Cross-linking of Fc epsilon RI on the surface of eosinophils from atopic donors did not lead to detectable EPO release. CONCLUSION: Human blood eosinophils express negligible, nonfunctional membrane Fc epsilon RI-alpha but have intracellular Fc epsilon RI-alpha protein and mRNA expression for the alpha, beta, and gamma subunits.


  • Smith, Susan J
  • Ying, Sun
  • Meng, Qui
  • Sullivan, Mark HF
  • Barkans, Julia
  • Kon, Onn Min
  • Sihra, Bhupinder
  • Larche, Mark
  • Levi-Schaffer, Francesca
  • Kay, A Barry

publication date

  • February 2000