This study examines the effect of purified rabbit antiguinea pig eosinophil-derived major basic protein (MBP) Ig on antigen-induced bronchial hyperreactivity to inhaled acetylcholine in aerosol-sensitized guinea pigs. Ovalbumin inhalation by sensitized guinea pigs induced a rise in the numbers of eosinophils and in the levels of MBP in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, which peaked at 24 h and resolved at 72 h. Antigen-challenged animals exhibited bronchial hyperreactivity to inhale acetylcholine at 72 h, but not at 6 or 24 h. The intranasal administration of 200 microliter of purified rabbit anti-guinea pig MBP Ig, at 2.5 mg/ml, but not of the control preimmune rabbit Ig, 1 h before and 5 h after ovalbumin inhalation suppressed bronchial hyperreactivity to acetylcholine at 72 h without affecting the number of eosinophils accumulating in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. These findings indicate that antigen challenge in sensitized guinea pigs is followed by early eosinophil infiltration and activation within the airways and by late bronchial hyperreactivity. Neutralization of endogenously secreted MBP by a specific antiserum prevented antigen-induced bronchial hyperreactivity, suggesting that eosinophil degranulation plays an important role in the alterations of bronchopulmonary function in the guinea pig.
J Lefort, M A Nahori, C Ruffie, B B Vargaftig, M Pretolani