Eosinophil adhesion to cholinergic nerves via ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 and associated eosinophil degranulation

Deborah A. Sawatzky, Paul J. Kingham, Emma Court, Bharathy Kumaravel, Allison D. Fryer, David B. Jacoby, W. Graham McLean, Richard W. Costello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


In vivo, eosinophils localize to airway cholinergic nerves in antigen-challenged animals, and inhibition of this localization prevents antigen-induced hyperreactivity. In this study, the mechanism of eosinophil localization to nerves was investigated by examining adhesion molecule expression by cholinergic nerves. Immunohistochemical and functional studies demonstrated that primary cultures of parasympathetic nerves express vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and after cytokine pretreatment with tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Eosinophils adhere to these parasympathetic neurones after cytokine pretreatment via a CD11/18-dependent pathway. Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting showed that a human cholinergic nerve cell line (IMR-32) expressed VCAM-1 and ICAM-1. Inhibitory experiments using monoclonal blocking antibodies to ICAM-1, VCAM-1, or CD11/18 and with the very late antigen-4 peptide inhibitor ZD-7349 showed that eosinophils adhered to IMR-32 cells via these adhesion molecules. The protein kinase C signaling pathway is involved in this process as a specific inhibitor-attenuated adhesion. Eosinophil adhesion to IMR-32 cells was associated with the release of eosinophil peroxidase and leukotriene C4. Thus eosinophils adhere to cholinergic nerves via specific adhesion molecules, and this leads to eosinophil activation and degranulation; this may be part of the mechanism of eosinophil-induced vagal hyperreactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1279-L1288
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6 26-6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyperreactivity
  • Muscarinic receptors
  • Neural inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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