Airway inflammation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of asthma. However, the precise contribution of all cell types in the development and maintenance of airway hyperreactivity and histopathology during allergic inflammation remains unclear. After sensitization of mice in the periphery, challenge by multiple intratracheal (i.t.) instillations of ovalbumin (OVA) results in eosinophilia, mononuclear cell infiltration, and airway epithelial changes analogous to that seen in asthma (Blyth, D.I., M.S. Pedrick, T.J. Savage, E.M. Hessel, and D. Fattah. 1996. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 14:425-438). To investigate further the nature of the cellular infiltrate, lungs from OVA-versus saline-treated mice were processed for histology and immunohistochemistry. One of the most striking features observed was the formation of germinal centers within the parenchyma of the inflamed lungs. In addition, follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) bearing OVA on their plasma membranes appeared and, adjacent to these sites, OVA-specific IgG1-, IgE-, and IgA-producing plasma cells emerged. To confirm that antigen-specific immunoglobulins (Ig) were being produced within the parenchyma, plasma cell number and antibody production were quantitated in vitro after isolation of cells from the lung. These assays confirmed that the isotypes observed in situ were a secreted product. As IgE-dependent mechanisms have been implicated as being central to the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma, airway hyperresponsiveness was evaluated. The mice undergoing lung inflammation were hyperresponsive, while the control group remained at baseline. These data demonstrate that antigen-driven differentiation of B cells via induction of an FDC network and germinal centers occurs in the parenchyma of inflamed lungs. These germinal centers would then provide a local source of IgE-secreting plasma cells that contribute to the release of factors mediating inflammatory processes in the lung.
Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research
Choose a citation style from the tabs below