Extracellular killing is regarded as one of the main functions of eosinophils. Therefore, a cytotoxicity assay against antibody-coated Daudi-lymphoma cells was established to measure cytokine effects on peripheral blood eosinophils from healthy volunteers. Optimal time of exposure to cytokines and half optimal concentrations (EC50) were determined and the capability of various cytokines to enhance cytotoxicity of eosinophils was compared. Thus, after 24 h with cytokine, the highest activation of eosinophils was observed with recombinant human rhIFN-gamma (EC50 = 0.2 U/ml), followed by the known activators of eosinophils recombinant human granulocyte/macrophage CSF (rhGM-CSF), rhIL-3, and murine IL-5 (mIL-5). rhIFN-alpha and natural human IFN-beta (nhIFN-beta) enhanced cytotoxicity as well. On the other hand, in short term assays, eosinophils were not stimulated by IFN and the strongest stimulator was rhGM-CSF (EC50 = 0.2 U/ml), followed by rhIL-3, mIL-5, rhTNF, and rhIL-4. With rhTNF-alpha enhancement was more pronounced on freshly isolated eosinophils (EC50 = 0.6 U/ml) and declined with time. No significant stimulation was detected with rhG-CSF, rhIL-1 beta, rhIL-2, rhIL-6, and rhIL-8. On neutrophils, rhIL-8 enhanced cytotoxicity, but the stimulation was weak in relation to other neutrophil activators. Studies on the mechanism of cytotoxic activity revealed that cytotoxicity required opsonization of targets with specific antibody. FMF analysis was performed demonstrating that freshly isolated eosinophils express Fc-gamma RII (CD32), small amounts of Fc-gamma RIII (CD16), but not Fc-gamma RI (CD64). In experiments with blocking antibodies to Fc-gamma R cytotoxicity was restricted to Fc-gamma RII. Expression of Fc-gamma RII was not enhanced by rhGM-CSF, rhTNF-alpha, and mIL-5, but a significant increase in the number of positive cells was observed after incubation with rhIFN-gamma for 24 h (p less than 0.05). In addition, enhanced viability of eosinophils was observed when cultured in the presence of rhIFN-gamma, rhIFN-alpha, rhGM-CSF, and rhTNF-alpha, but not of rhG-CSF and rhIL-2. Thus, IFN appear to be another class of activators of eosinophils, characterized by their delayed type of action.

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