Airway eosinophilic inflammation is a characteristic feature of allergic asthma. Exposure to allergens produced by the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is a risk factor for allergic disease in genetically predisposed individuals, and has been linked to an increase in asthma morbidity among cockroach-sensitive inner city children. To determine the role and contribution of specific HLA class II in the pathogenesis of allergic airway inflammation in cockroach-induced asthma, we generated double-transgenic, double-knockout mice expressing human HLA-DQ8, HLA-DQ6, and CD4 molecules in the absence of mouse class II and mouse CD4. Mice were actively immunized and later challenged intranasally with cockroach allergen extract. These mice developed bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) eosinophilia and pulmonary eosinophilia. This was accompanied by an increase in total protein levels, IL-5, and IL-13 in BALF. There were also elevated levels of cockroach-specific serum IgG1 and total serum IgE. Histological analysis revealed peribronchial and perivascular eosinophilic inflammation in cockroach-treated mice. Other pathologic changes in the airways were epithelial cell hypertrophy and mucus production. Treatment with anti-DQ mAb significantly reduced pulmonary and BALF eosinophilia in cockroach allergen-sensitized mice. Aβo mice and transgenic mice expressing human CD4 molecule alone (without class II) or human HLA-DQ8 molecule (without CD4) treated in the same fashion showed no eosinophilia in bronchoalveolar fluid and no pulmonary parenchymal inflammation. Our results provide direct evidence that HLA-DQ molecules and CD4 T cells mediate cockroach-induced eosinophilic inflammation in the airways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy