Djukanović, R., Lai, C.K., Wilson, J.W., Britten, K.M., Wilson, S.J., Roche, W.R., Howarth, P.H. and Holgate, S.T.
Bronchial mucosal manifestations of atopy: a comparison of markers of inflammation between atopic asthmatics, atopic nonasthmatics and healthy controls
European Respiratory Journal, 5, (5), . (PMID:1612155).
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We studied the role of atopy, as defined by positive skin tests to common inhalant allergens, in allergic bronchial inflammation. Endobronchial biopsies were taken via the fibreoptic bronchoscope in 13 symptomatic atopic asthmatics, 10 atopic nonasthmatics, and 7 normals. The numbers of mast cells, identified in the submucosa by immunohistochemistry using the AA1 monoclonal antibody against tryptase, were no different between the three groups, but electron microscopy showed that mast cell degranulation, although less marked in atopic nonasthmatics, was a feature of atopy in general. The numbers of eosinophils, identified by immunohistochemical staining using the monoclonal anti-eosinophil cationic protein antibody, EG2, were greatest in the asthmatics, low or absent in the normals and intermediate in the atopic nonasthmatics. In both atopic groups eosinophils showed ultrastructural features of degranulation. Measurements of subepithelial basement membrane thickness on electron micrographs showed that the collagen layer was thickest in the asthmatics, intermediate in the atopic nonasthmatics and thinnest in the normals. The results suggest that airways eosinophilia and degranulation of eosinophils and mast cells, as well as increased subepithelial collagen deposition, are a feature of atopy in general and suggest that the degree of change may determine the clinical expression of this immune disorder.
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