Expression of RANTES mRNA and protein in airways of patients with mild asthma

N. Berkman, V. L. Krishnan, T. Gilbey, R. Newton, B. O'Connor, P. J. Barnes, K. F. Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Chemoattractant cytokines (chemokines) such as RANTES, are potent chemoattractants for eosinophils, T lymphocytes, and monocyte/macrophages. We examined RANTES mRNA and protein expression in bronchial biopsies and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells from patients with mild asthma on β2- adrenergic agonist therapy only. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), mean RANTES starting cDNA was 110 ± 18 fg/pg β-actin in asthmatics compared with 33.7 ± 11.0 fg/pg in normals (p < 0.003) but there was no significant difference in RANTES mRNA expression in BAL cells between the two groups. Immunohistochemical staining of cryostat sections of bronchial biopsies with an anti-RANTES antibody using peroxidase antiperoxidase method revealed constitutive staining in airway epithelial cells, airway smooth muscle, and subepithelial cells. However, there was no difference in the number of RANTES-staining cells between normal subjects and asthmatics despite significantly increased numbers of CD4+ T-cells, CD68+ macrophages, and MBP+ eosinophils in mucosal biopsies obtained from asthmatics. Double-staining revealed expression of RANTES in a proportion of CD3+ T lymphocytes. Thus, RANTES is constitutively expressed in the airways and RANTES mRNA is elevated in airways of patients with mild asthma, supporting a role for RANTES in normal and asthmatic airways.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1804-1811
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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