Cytokines directly induce degranulation and superoxide production from human eosinophils

Shiro Horie, Gerald J. Gleich, Hirohito Kita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Background: Cytokines are implicated in allergic diseases and can modulate effector functions of eosinophils stimulated by another agonist. However, little in known about the capacity of cytokines to directly eosinophil degranulation. Objectives: We attempted to determine whether cytokines can directly induce degranulation and superoxide production from eosinophils. Methods: Eosinophils from normal donors were incubated with various cytokines in albumin-coated tissue culture plates for 4 hours. To quantitate degranulation, the amounts of eosinophil-derived neurotoxin in supernatants were measured by radioimmunoassay. In addition, superoxide production was measured by superoxide dismutase-inhibitable reduction of cytochrome c. Results: IL-5, IL-3, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, tumor necrosis factor-α, and RANTES all induced eosinophil degranulation. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor was the most potent and induced eosinophil-derived neurotoxin release to that induced by secretory IgA beads, one of the most potent secretagogues for eosinophils. In addition, IL-5 and tumor necrosis factor-α were synergistic in their induction of eosinophil degranulation. In contrast, IL-1, IL-8, interferon- γ, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α did not induce degranulation. Finally, IL-5, IL-3, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and tumor necrosis factor-α, but not RANTES, also induced superoxide production from eosinophils. Conclusions: Certain cytokines directly induce eosinophil degranulation and superoxide production in vitro. Therefore these cytokines may be important in the release of toxic granule proteins from eosinophils in allergic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Eosinophils
  • cytokine
  • degranulation
  • superoxide production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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