A number of natural and recombinant human cytokines have been tested for their ability to activate basophil and neutrophil adhesiveness for human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro. Coincubation of basophils and endothelial cell monolayers for 10 min with biologically relevant concentrations of rIL-1, natural IL-2, rIL-4, rIL-5, rIL-6, rIL-8, rGM-CSF, and rIFN-gamma had no effect on basophil adhesiveness. In contrast, rIL-3 induced basophil adhesiveness for endothelial cells (optimal at 1 ng/ml: 144 +/- 18% of control adherence (mean +/- SEM); control basophil binding, 13 +/- 3%, n = 9, p less than or equal to 0.05). This increase in adhesiveness was similar in magnitude to that induced by an optimal concentration of a known potent inducer of basophil adhesiveness (1 microM FMLP, 164 +/- 15% of control adherence, n = 9). Under these experimental conditions, the effects of rIL-3 occurred at concentrations of 0.1 to 30 ng/ml, were partially dependent on calcium, and were not accompanied by histamine release. Fixation experiments demonstrated that the effect of rIL-3 was directed against the basophil rather than the endothelial cell. Neither rIL-3 nor the other cytokines tested had any effect on the adherence of 51Cr-labeled neutrophils, even when tested simultaneously on cells from the same donors. Under experimental conditions that permitted histamine release, no correlation was seen between the ability of rIL-3 (0.3 to 300 ng/ml) to induce histamine release or enhance adhesiveness (n = 8). mAb blocking experiments demonstrated a role for both CD11 and CD18 adherence glycoproteins in basophil adherence induced by rIL-3, and indirect immunofluorescence and flow cytometric analysis revealed that rIL-3 treatment led to rapid and sustained increases in cell surface expression of CD11b antigens on basophils but not neutrophils (e.g., after 10 min: 217 +/- 29 vs 91 +/- 11% of control mean fluorescence intensity, p less than 0.05). However, no correlation was seen between the magnitude of changes in CD11b expression and changes in adhesion when tested simultaneously. These results suggest that local production of IL-3 during allergic reactions in vivo may selectively promote basophil activation, adhesion to endothelium, and recruitment to extravascular sites of inflammation.

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