Eosinophilis and their products are probably important in the pathophysiology of allergic diseases, such as bronchial asthma, and in host immunity to certain organisms. An association between environmental fungal exposure and asthma has been long recognized clinically. Although products of microorganisms (e.g., lipopolysaccharides) directly activate certain inflammatory cells (e.g., macrophages), the mechanism(s) that triggers eosinophil degranulation is unknown. In this stody we investigated whether human eosinophils have an innate immune response to certain fungal organisms. We incubated human eosinophils with extracts from seven environmental airborne fungi (Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus versicolor, Bipolaris sorokiniana, Candida albicans, Cladosporium herbarum, Curvularia spicifera, and Penicillium notatum). Alternaria and Penicillium induced calcium-dependent exocytosis (e.g., eosinophil-derived neurotoxin release) in eosinophils from normal individuals. Alternaria also strongly induced other activation events in eosinophils, including increases in intracellular calcium concentration, cell surface expression of CD63 and CD11b, and production of IL-8. Other fungi did not induce eosinophil degranulation, and Alternaria did not induce neutrophil activation, suggesting specificity for fungal species and cell type. The Alternaria-induced eosinophil degranulation was pertussis toxin sensitive and desensitized by preincubating cells with G protein-coupled receptor agonists, platelet-activating factor, or FMLP. The eosinophil-stimulating activity in Alternaria extract was highly heat labile and had an Mr of ∼60 kDa. Thus, eosinophils, but not neutrophils, possess G protein-dependent cellular activation machinery that directly responds to an Alternaria protein product(s). This innate response by eosinophils to certain environmental fungi may be important in host defense and in the exacerbation of inflammation in asthma and allergic diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy