Chemical constituents of diesel exhaust particles induce IL-4 production and histamine release by human basophils.
- PubMed: 11994710
BACKGROUND: An epidemiologic relationship between airway allergic diseases and exposure to atmospheric pollutants has been demonstrated and suggested to be one factor in the increasing prevalence of asthma. Diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) have been shown to participate in the development of allergic airway inflammation, in which the targets include macrophages, B and T cells, epithelial cells, and mast cells. In addition to the adjuvant effect of DEPs on total and allergen-specific IgE production, DEPs also act to induce chemokines and cytokines and may play a key role in primary sensitization. OBJECTIVE: DEPs have been shown to increase local IL-4-containing Kit(+) cells soon after in vivo nasal challenge. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of DEPs on human basophils, a key source of IL-4. METHODS: Peripheral blood leukocytes from allergic and control subjects were cultured in the presence of organic extracts of DEP (DEPex) with or without allergen. The cultures were analyzed for IL-4-containing cells by using multiparameter flow cytometry, IL-4 secretion with ELISA, and histamine release. RESULTS: Basophils, when exposed in vitro to DEPex, expressed IL-4 and released histamine significantly (P <.01) more than with antigen activation. DEPex did not synergize with allergen in cytokine production and histamine release. DEPex-induced basophil IL-4 expression peaked at 2 hours and persisted through 20 hours, in contrast to allergen-induced IL-4, which was transient. The effect of DEPex on basophil cytokine expression and histamine release was dose dependent and occurred with cells from both allergic and nonallergic subjects. DEPex induced IL-4 expression and histamine release in highly enriched basophil populations, suggesting it acts directly on basophils. Other peripheral blood leukocytes, including T cells, did not contribute to this cytokine expression. Preincubation with N-acetylcysteine completely abrogated DEPex-driven basophil IL-4 expression. CONCLUSIONS: Basophils are a direct target for DEPex, inducing IL-4 expression and histamine release in an IgE-allergen independent fashion. N-acetylcysteine inhibition of DEPex-driven IL-4 expression provides evidence that generation of reactive oxygen species is required for the effects observed. The capability of DEPex to activate basophils in both allergic and nonallergic subjects suggests a potential role of this pollutant in the increasing prevalence of allergic diseases.