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Eotaxin levels and eosinophils in guinea pig broncho-alveolar lavage fluid are increased at the onset of a viral respiratory infection


Dr G. Folkerts Department of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Utrecht University, PO Box 80082, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.


In previous studies we found that guinea pigs demonstrate an increase in airway reactivity and eosinophil numbers 4 days after a respiratory infection with parainfluenza-3 (PI3) virus. Clinical data support the possible involvement of eosinophils in virus-induced airway hyperresponsiveness. Eotaxin, a newly discovered chemokine, could be involved in eosinophil migration to the airways. In this study, eosinophil numbers were counted in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and related with eotaxin concentrations in BAL fluid 1, 2, 3, and 4 days after intratracheal PI3 virus administration. On day 1, blood eosinophils increased by more than 200% (P < 0.01). The number of eosinophils were only slightly enhanced from day 2 to day 4 (40%–70%). BAL fluid eosinophils were not increased on day 1 but were significantly elevated on day 2 (180%) and remained high on days 3–4 (>300%, P < 0.05). This increase in lung eosinophils correlated well with eotaxin levels measured in BAL fluid. There was no significant increase in eotaxin on day 1 following PI3 infection; however, on days 2–4 eotaxin levels in BAL fluid were significantly elevated (four–sixfold increase) when compared with medium inoculated controls. Eotaxin appears to play an important role in eosinophil accumulation in guinea pig lung following PI3 infection.