Association of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor with the crystalloid granules of human eosinophils

Francesca Levi-Schaffer, Paige Lacy, Nicholas J. Severs, Terence M. Newman, Janet North, Bastien Gomperts, A. Barry Kay, Redwan Moqbel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that normal-density human peripheral blood eosinophils transcribe and translate mRNA for granulocyte-macrophage colony- stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and that the intracellular distribution was granular as assessed by light microscopy immunocytochemistry. The present study was conducted to confirm this apparent association between GM-CSF and the crystalloid granule using a subcellular fractionation method for human eosinophils and immunogold electron microscopy (EM). Highly purified (>99%, by negative selection using anti-CD16 immunomagnetic microbeads) human peripheral blood eosinophils were obtained from four asthmatic subjects (not taking systemic medication), homogenized and density fractionated (5 x 107 cells/subject) on linear Nycodenz gradients. Twenty-four fractions were collected from each cell preparation and analyzed for marker enzyme activities as well as total protein. Dot blot analysis with specific monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) was used to detect the eosinophil granule proteins major basic protein (MBP) and eosinophil cationic protein(ECP). An anti-CD9 MoAb was used as an eosinophil plasma membrane marker. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) was used as a cytosolic marker. Immunoreactivity for GM- CSF was detected by a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using a polyclonal antihuman GM-CSF antibody and confirmed by dot blot. GM-CSF coeluted with the cellular fractions containing granule markers (MBP, ECP, eosinophil peroxidase, hexosaminidase, and arylsulphatase), but not those containing cytoplasm (LDH+) or membrane (CD9+) markers. EM examination of pooled fractions associated with the peak of GM-CSF immunoreactivity confirmed that they contained crystalloid and small granules, but not plasma membrane. In addition, quantification, using immunogold labeling with an anti/GM-CSF MoAb, indicated preferential localization of gold particles over the eosinophil granule cores of intact cells. Thus, our results indicate that GM-CSF resides as a granule-associated, stored mediator in unstimulated human eosinophils.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2579-2586
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 1995


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