Eosinophils are multifunctional leukocytes involved in various inflammatory processes, as well as tissue remodeling and immunoregulation. During inflammation and infection, injured cells and damaged tissues release uric acid and monosodium urate (MSU) crystals as important endogenous danger signals. Uric acid is also implicated in the immunogenic effects of an authentic Th2 adjuvant, aluminum hydroxide. Eosinophils often localize at sites of Th2-type chronic inflammation; therefore, we hypothesized that eosinophils may react to endogenous danger signals. We found that human eosinophils migrate toward soluble uric acid and MSU crystals in a gradient-dependent manner. Eosinophils incubated with MSU crystals, but not those incubated with uric acid solution, produced elevated levels of IL-6 and IL-8/CXCL8. Other cytokines and chemokines, including IL-1β, IL-10, IL-17, IFN-γ, CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, TNF-α, G-CSF, GM-CSF, fibroblast growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and TGF-β, were also produced by eosinophils incubated with MSU crystals. Eosinophils exposed to MSU crystals rapidly (i.e., within 1 min of exposure) released ATP into the extracellular milieu. Importantly, this autocrine ATP was necessary for eosinophils to produce cytokines in response to MSU crystals, and P2 nucleotide receptors, in particular P2Y2, are likely involved in this positive feedback loop. Finally, at higher concentrations, MSU crystals promoted P2R-dependent release of a granule protein (eosinophil-derived neurotoxin) and cell death. Thus, human eosinophils may respond to particulate damage-associated endogenous danger signals. These responses by eosinophils to tissue damage may explain the self-perpetuating nature of chronic inflammation in certain human diseases, such as asthma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy