Vbeta8+ T lymphocytes are essential in the regulation of airway hyperresponsiveness and bronchoalveolar eosinophilia but not in allergen-specific IgE in a murine model of allergic asthma

C L Hofstra, I Van Ark, H F Savelkoul, W W Cruikshank, F P Nijkamp, A J Van Oosterhout
Clinical and Experimental Allergy 1998, 28 (12): 1571-80

BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence that in allergic asthma the inflammatory process is regulated by T lymphocytes. In BALB/c mice the majority of ovalbumin responsive T lymphocytes express the Vbeta8.1+ and Vbeta8.2+ T-cell receptor.

OBJECTIVE: We analysed the contribution of Vbeta8+ T lymphocytes during the sensitization and challenge phase in the regulation of antigen-specific IgE, airway hyperresponsiveness and cellular infiltration in the airways in a murine model of allergic asthma.

METHODS: Mice strains genetically lacking (SJL/J and SJA/9) and expressing (BALB/c) the Vbeta8+ T cell receptor were used. In addition, prior to the sensitization and prior to the challenge BALB/c mice were treated with antibodies to Vbeta8. Mice were sensitized with ovalbumin, followed by repeated challenge with ovalbumin or saline aerosols.

RESULTS: In ovalbumin challenged BALB/c mice treated with control antibody a significant increase in eosinophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage, airway hyperresponsiveness and increased serum levels of ovalbumin-specific IgE were observed compared to control mice. Treatment of BALB/c mice with antibodies to Vbeta8 prior to the sensitization or prior to the challenge period completely inhibited the ovalbumin induced infiltration of eosinophils and airway hyperresponsiveness, while ovalbumin-specific IgE was slightly decreased. In SJA/9 and SJL/J mice ovalbumin challenge did not induce eosinophilic infiltration and airway hyperresponsiveness. In SJL/J mice ovalbumin challenge induced an upregulation of ovalbumin-specific IgE, however, in SJA/9 mice no upregulation was observed.

CONCLUSION: It is demonstrated that Vbeta8+ T lymphocytes are essential for infiltration of eosinophils in the airways and development of airway hyperresponsiveness in a murine model of allergic asthma. In contrast, although Vbeta8+ T lymphocytes seem to be important for the extent of IgE levels, no essential role for Vbeta8+ T lymphocytes in the induction of antigen-specific IgE was observed.

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