Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia: Analysis of antifilarial antibody localized to the lung
Acute tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (TPE) is characterized by wheezing, pulmonary infiltrates, marked peripheral blood eosinophilia, and very high serum levels of filaria-specific antibodies. To evaluate the amount and character of the filaria-specific antibodies in the lungs in this disorder, bronchoalveolar lavage was carried out in individuals with acute TPE, in normal subjects, and in patients with elephantiasis or asthma. Striking elevations of total IgE were found in the lower respiratory tract epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of patients with TPE along with high levels of filarial-specific IgG, IgM, and IgE. When patients with acute TPE were treated with diethylcarbamazine and evaluated again 6-14 d later, there was marked reduction in ELF parasite-specific IgG and IgE, which paralleled a rapid clinical response. Immunoblot comparison of the antigen recognition patterns of ELF and serum antibodies demonstrated a general similarity in parasite antigens recognized, but the lung IgE and IgG antibodies appeared to recognize only a certain subset of the parasite antigens recognized by serum antibodies. Thus, a profound antibody response to filarial infection is found in the lungs of patients with TPE, suggesting that these filaria-specific antibodies play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disorder.