Trimellitic anhydride-induced eosinophilia in a mouse model of occupational asthma

Jean F Regal, Margaret E. Mohrman, Denise M. Sailstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Trimellitic anhydride (TMA) is a low-molecular-weight chemical known to cause occupational asthma. The present study was designed to determine if TMA elicited eosinophil infiltration into lungs of sensitized mice similar to previous studies with the protein allergen ovalbumin (OA). BALB/c mice were sensitized intradermally with 0.1 ml of 3% TMA or 0.3% OA in corn oil followed by intratracheal instillation with TMA conjugated to mouse serum albumin (TMA-MSA; 30 or 400 μg) or OA (30 μg). Nonsensitized mice received corn oil vehicle intradermally and MSA (30 μg) intratracheally. The allergic response was elicited 3 weeks later by intratracheal instillation of 30 or 400 μg TMA-MSA, OA, or control MSA. Cellular infiltration into bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL) was determined 72 h later. Eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in lung homogenates was used as an estimate of numbers of eosinophils and neutrophils, respectively, in lung tissue. In TMA-sensitized mice, TMA-MSA challenge significantly increased numbers of eosinophils in BAL and EPO in lung, indicating an increase in number of eosinophils in the airway and tissue. In nonsensitized mice, TMA-MSA challenge also caused a small but significant increase in eosinophils in BAL compared to MSA control. Total IgE in both plasma and BAL was significantly higher in TMA-sensitized compared to nonsensitized mice. The eosinophil infiltration in TMA-sensitized mice was similar in magnitude to the response in OA-sensitized mice. These studies are the first to demonstrate TMA-induced eosinophilia in mouse lung and to provide a model for comparing mechanisms and mediators responsible for the substantial eosinophilia induced by TMA and OA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-242
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 15 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Liz Boykin for her excellent technical assistance and Susan Kurki for her excellent secretarial assistance. The authors also thank Dr. Ronald Regal, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Minnesota Duluth, for assistance in the statistical analysis of the data. This study was supported by NIH ES 07406. This work does not reflect EPA policy.


  • Eosinophils
  • Lung
  • Mouse
  • Occupational asthma
  • Pulmonary allergy
  • Trimellitic anhydride


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