Tissue eosinophilia is a characteristic feature of a number of inflammatory diseases including asthma and nasal polyposis. Eosinophil migration into tissues is controlled in part by interactions between eosinophil adhesion receptors and counter-structures on the vascular endothelium. To determine the receptors used by eosinophils to adhere to vascular endothelium in allergic inflammation we have adapted the Stamper-Woodruff frozen section assay (FSA) to study eosinophil adhesion to nasal polyp endothelium. Immunohistology indicated that intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), E-selectin and P-selectin were well expressed by nasal polyp endothelium, whereas expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) was weak or absent. Unstimulated human peripheral blood eosinophils adhered specifically to nasal polyp endothelium. Adherence was temperature and divalent cation-dependent and saturable at cell densities > 5 x 10(6) cells/ml. Eosinophil adhesion was almost completely inhibited by a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against P-selectin and by a chimeric molecule consisting of the Fc portion of human IgG and the lectin binding domain of P-selectin, which binds to the P-selectin ligand on leucocytes. Anti-Mac-1 mAb partially inhibited eosinophil adhesion whereas mAb against E-selectin, L-selectin, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, very late activation antigen 4, and lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 had no effect. P-selectin is stored in intracellular granules within the endothelial cell and in vitro is only transiently expressed. To determine if P-selectin was expressed on the membrane of the nasal polyp endothelium we compared P-selectin expression in normal skin and nasal polyps after acetone fixation, which permeabilizes cells, and paraformaldehyde, which only allows staining of membrane expressed receptors. In the skin, good expression was seen with acetone fixation but no expression was seen after paraformaldehyde treatment, whereas in nasal polyps, similar expression was observed with both fixatives. In addition immunofluorescence with confocal microscopy demonstrated lumenal staining of nasal polyp endothelium indicating that P-selectin was located on the surface of endothelial cells while in skin only an intracellular granular distribution was apparent. Lastly, whereas eosinophils bound consistently to nasal polyp endothelium, no binding was observed to blood vessels in normal skin further supporting the idea that eosinophils were binding to membrane expressed and not intracellular P-selectin. The importance of P-selectin in eosinophil adhesion to nasal polyp endothelium suggests that P-selectin antagonists may be effective at inhibiting eosinophil accumulation at sites of allergic inflammation.

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