The purpose of this study was to investigate whether platelets are activated and release their products in the human lung after antigen challenge. Using subsegmental antigen challenge as a model of asthma, bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from ragweed-allergic asthmatic subjects were assayed for the alpha granule products, platelet factor 4 (PF4) and beta- thromboglobulin (β-TG), prior to challenge (baseline) and at 5 min and 19 h after challenge with ragweed antigen. Airway segments challenged with normal saline were used as controls. Five minutes after antigen challenge, levels of platelet products in BAL fluid were not elevated from baseline or normal saline control levels. However, 19 h after antigen challenge, a 10-fold increase in platelet products in BAL fluids was found. The mean PF4 levels increased from baseline and saline control values of less than 1.0 to 7.2 ng/ml (p < 0.05) 19 h after antigen challenge. β-TG increased from baseline and control levels of less than 1.0 to 6.6 ng/ml (p < 0.05). Elevations in PF4 and β-TG were highly correlated with each other (r = 0.98, p < 0.0001). Levels of platelet products during the 19-h response correlated with albumin, with kinins, with the prostaglandins 6-keto-PGF(1α), PGE2, and PGF(2α), and with the eosinophil-derived proteins, eosinophil-derived neurotoxin and eosinophil peroxidase. We conclude that platelet activation in the lung is a feature of the late inflammatory response to antigen challenge and that platelets may play an important role in allergic inflammation and asthma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine