Removal of bronchoalveolar cells augments the late eosinophilic response to segmental allergen challenge

L. W. Hunt, G. J. Gleich, H. Kita, D. A. Weiler, D. R. Schroeder, Z. Vuk Pavlovic, S. Sur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: In patients with quiescent asthma, macrophages are the most prevalent cells recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Through activation via their FcεRII receptors or by acting as antigen-presenting cells, macrophages could, in theory, promote the late airway response to allergen. Objective: In order to investigate the importance of macrophages and other airway luminal cells in inducing the late airway response, a novel washout experiment was designed. Methods: Five patients with ragweed-allergic asthma underwent bronchoscopy and segmental bronchial challenge with either normal saline or short ragweed extract in two segments of one lung. In a third segment of the opposite lung, 12 successive BALs (25mL each) were performed, followed by challenge with an identical dose of short ragweed (washed-challenged segment). After 24 h, all three challenged segments underwent BAL. Results: Initially, in the washed-challenged segment, over 80% (mean 80.4%, range 68-88%) of the recoverable airway dwelling cells were removed. Unexpectedly, 24 h later these same washed-challenged segments contained more eosinophils in the BAL than the challenged segments from the opposite lung (P = 0.033). Conclusions: Removing the majority of airway luminal cells followed by allergen bronchoprovocation increased the number of eosinophils recovered 24 h after challenge. Our results suggest that in quiescent allergic asthma, the airway luminal cells are protective and attenuate the late eosinophilic response to allergen challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Eosinophils
  • Interleukin-5
  • Lymphocytes
  • Macrophages
  • Segmental bronchoprovocation
  • Successive washout lavage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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