Interleukin-4 and RANTES expression in maturing eosinophils derived from human cord blood CD34+
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Eosinophils elaborate a number of proinflammatory mediators, including immunoregulatory cytokines and chemokines. Interleukin (IL)-4 and RANTES are important cytokines that have previously been shown to be expressed by mature eosinophils. We hypothesized that de novo synthesis of IL-4 and RANTES occurs in nascent eosinophils, leading to storage of newly produced proteins in crystalloid granule-like structures. Cytokine mRNA and protein expression were examined in cultured eosinophil colonies, which were derived from purified cord blood CD34+ cells and generated in semisolid media (methylcellulose) in the presence of recombinant human (rh)IL-3 and rhIL-5. Cytokine mRNA profiles were analysed by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to determine transcription of IL-4 and RANTES in cells on days 0, 7, 14, 21 and 28 of culture. The expression of translated cytokine products and granule major basic protein (MBP) was confirmed, from day 23 onwards, for colonies cultured in semisolid media, by immunofluorescent labelling and confocal laser-scanning microscopy (CLSM). We found that mRNA sequences encoding IL-4 and RANTES were expressed in freshly prepared, non-differentiated CD34+ cells. Furthermore, RANTES mRNA localized to carbol chromotrope 2R-positive colony cells, as assessed using in situ RT-PCR on day 21 of culture in semisolid media, and was found to gradually decrease (relative to beta2-microglobulin) in rhIL-3- and rhIL-5-treated colony cells (comprising > 90% eosinophil-like cells) up to day 28. Immunoreactivity for IL-4 and RANTES co-localized with MBP in maturing colony eosinophils on day 23 of culture in semisolid media, as judged by CLSM. These results suggest that synthesis and storage of immunoregulatory cytokines, essential for processes associated with adaptive immunity, occurs in nascent eosinophils during their growth and differentiation.
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