Cytokine profile in minor salivary glands from patients with bronchial asthma.
ABSTRACT T lymphocytes are important components of the bronchial inflammatory cell infiltrate in asthma. Because lymphocytes activated in the respiratory tract recirculate to remote glandular and mucosal sites, we previously studied the histologic features of minor salivary glands (MSGs) in bronchial asthma and found an airway-like inflammation with T-lymphocyte infiltration, the presence of mast cells that were often degranulated, and basement membrane thickening but no eosinophil infiltration.
We sought to investigate the cellular infiltration and cytokine profile in MSGs from untreated asthmatic subjects, steroid-treated asthmatic subjects, and control subjects and to compare these values with those found in bronchial biopsy specimens.
The cellular infiltration was studied by using immunohistochemistry. Cytokine messenger (m)RNA expression for IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-gamma was determined by using in situ hybridization and cytokine immunoreactivity with immunohistochemistry.
A significant increase in CD4 and IL-4 mRNA(+) cells was observed in MSGs from asthmatic patients (both untreated and steroid-treated subjects) when compared with control subjects, which correlated with the clinical severity of asthma (FEV(1) and Aas score). In contrast to the bronchi, no IL-5 mRNA expression was observed in MSGs, and no difference was observed for MSG IFN-gamma mRNA between the groups. At the level of MSG protein expression, the 3 cytokines were seen, with a significant increase in IL-4 protein expression in steroid-treated asthmatic subjects compared with untreated asthmatic subjects and control subjects, but there were no differences between the groups in IL-5 and IFN-gamma protein expression.
The cytokine mRNA expression pattern observed in the MSGs of asthmatic subjects was different from that found in the bronchi, suggesting a different local immune regulation.