The C-C chemokines RANTES and monocyte chemotactic protein-3 (MCP-3) are potent chemoattractants in vitro for eosinophils and other cell types associated with allergic reactions. We tested the hypothesis that the allergen-induced infiltration of eosinophils, T cells, and macrophages in the skin of atopic subjects is accompanied by the appearance of mRNA+ cells for RANTES and MCP-3. Cryostat sections were obtained from skin biopsies from six subjects 6, 24, and 48 h after allergen challenge. Tissue was processed for immunocytochemistry (ICC) and for in situ hybridization using 35S-labeled riboprobes for RANTES and MCP-3. In contrast to diluent controls, allergen provoked a significant increase in mRNA+ cells for MCP-3, which peaked at 6 h and progressively declined at 24 and 48 h. This paralleled the kinetics of total (major basic protein positive [MBP]+) and activated (cleaved form of eosinophil cationic protein [EG2]+) eosinophil infiltration. The allergen-induced expression of cells mRNA+ for RANTES was also clearly demonstrable at 6 h. However, the numbers were maximal at 24 h and declined slightly at the 48-h time point. The number of mRNA+ cells for RANTES paralleled the kinetics of infiltration of CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ T cells whereas the number of CD68+ macrophages was still increasing at 48 h. These data support the view that MCP-3 is involved in the regulation of the early eosinophil response to specific allergen, whereas RANTES may have more relevance to the later accumulation of T cells and macrophages.

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