Identification of Genes Expressed by Human Airway Eosinophils after an In Vivo Allergen Challenge

Stephane Esnault, Elizabeth A. Kelly, Elizabeth A. Schwantes, Lin Ying Liu, Larissa P. DeLain, Jami A. Hauer, Yury A. Bochkov, Loren C. Denlinger, James S. Malter, Sameer K. Mathur, Nizar N. Jarjour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: The mechanism for the contribution of eosinophils (EOS) to asthma pathophysiology is not fully understood. Genome-wide expression analysis of airway EOS by microarrays has been limited by the ability to generate high quality RNA from sufficient numbers of airway EOS. Objective: To identify, by genome-wide expression analyses, a compendium of expressed genes characteristic of airway EOS following an in vivo allergen challenge. Methods: Atopic, mild asthmatic subjects were recruited for these studies. Induced sputum was obtained before and 48h after a whole lung allergen challenge (WLAC). Individuals also received a segmental bronchoprovocation with allergen (SBP-Ag) 1 month before and after administering a single dose of mepolizumab (anti-IL-5 monoclonal antibody) to reduce airway EOS. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed before and 48 h after SBP-Ag. Gene expression of sputum and BAL cells was analyzed by microarrays. The results were validated by qPCR in BAL cells and purified BAL EOS. Results: A total of 299 transcripts were up-regulated by more than 2-fold in total BAL cells following SBP-Ag. Mepolizumab treatment resulted in a reduction of airway EOS by 54.5% and decreased expression of 99 of the 299 transcripts. 3 of 6 post-WLAC sputum samples showed increased expression of EOS-specific genes, along with the expression of 361 other genes. Finally, the intersection of the 3 groups of transcripts (increased in BAL post SBP-Ag (299), decreased after mepolizumab (99), and increased in sputum after WLAC (365)) was composed of 57 genes characterizing airway EOS gene expression. Conclusion: We identified 57 genes that were highly expressed by BAL EOS compared to unseparated BAL cells after in vivo allergen challenge. 41 of these genes had not been previously described in EOS and are thus potential new candidates to elucidate EOS contribution to airway biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere67560
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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