Suplatast tosilate (IPD), a new dimethylsulfonium agent, is used therapeutically in allergic diseases. Suplatast has been reported to attenuate airway hyperresponsiveness in guinea pigs, human IgE synthesis, and murine peritoneal eosinophilia. However, the effect of suplatast on human eosinophils is not known. In this study, we examined the effects of suplatast in human eosinophils on platelet activating factor (PAF, 1 μM)-induced chemotaxis by the blind well chamber technique, eosinophil adhesion to TNF-α (10 ng/ml) or IL-4 (10 ng/ml)-stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), and expression of very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) on eosinophils and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on HUVECs by flow cytometry. Suplatast suppressed IL-4-induced eosinophil adhesion to HUVECs in a dose-dependent manner. Eosinophils from the normal subjects did not express VLA-4. However, there was a significant increase (P <0.01) in the basal expression of VLA-4 in allergic patients. PAF or IL-4 did not enhance VLA-4 expression on eosinophils, and there was no significant effect of suplatast on VLA-4 expression in allergic patients. Suplatast did not affect TNF-α-induced VCAM-1 expression. Interestingly, suplatast significantly suppressed IL-4 induced VCAM-1 expression on HUVECs and PAF-induced eosinophil chemotaxis. These data suggest that suplatast may modify eosinophil participation in airway inflammation by attenuating inflammatory mediators-induced chemotaxis and adhesion to endothelial cells, and thus might be useful in the treatment of bronchial asthma.
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