The interaction of human eosinophils with opsonized particles was compared with that of human neutrophils. When eosinophils are stimulated with serum-opsonized zymosan particles, the lag time in H2O2 production is twice as long as found with neutrophils. Moreover, the concentration of these IgG + C3-coated particles required for optimal stimulation is about four times as high for eosinophils as for neutrophils. Under these conditions, the two cell types generate similar amounts of H2O2. However, eosinophils produce twice as much H2O2 as do neutrophils when stimulated with the soluble agent phorbol myristate acetate. Thus, although the oxidase capacity of eosinophils is larger than that of neutrophils, opsonized zymosan is a weak trigger for this activity in eosinophils. This phenomenon may be due to differences between the two cell types in the plasma membrane receptors or in the receptor oxidase transducing signal. The following are indications for the first possibility. i) IgG interacts poorly with the Fc gamma receptors on the eosinophil surface compared with those on neutrophils. This was shown by the inability of IgG-coated zymosan or IgG-coated latex to trigger any substantial H2O2 production by eosinophils unless brought into close contact with these cells by centrifugation. In contrast, neutrophils are stimulated by these particles both in suspension and in a pellet. The dissimilarity of the Fc gamma receptors on eosinophils and neutrophils was also shown with respect to antigenicity, determined by the monoclonal antibodies 3G8 and CLB-FcR-1. ii) Eosinophils contain about half as many receptors for C3b and C3bi on their surface as do neutrophils, also detected with monoclonal antibodies. The interaction of IgG subclasses with functional Fc gamma receptors on eosinophils and neutrophils showed that eosinophils release twice as much H2O2 as do neutrophils upon interaction with IgG1-, IgG2-, or IgG3-coated Sepharose beads, but this difference becomes fivefold with IgG4-coated Sepharose. This might be of relevance to the situation of chronic antigenic stimulation, e.g., in chronic schistosomiasis, in which eosinophil numbers and IgG4 antibody levels are elevated.

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