Cockroach extract antigen increases bronchial airway epithelial permeability

Ajay B. Antony, Robert S. Tepper, Kamal A. Mohammed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Background: The bronchial epithelial cells of airways are subject to recurrent environmental injury throughout the life of an individual. Recently, a high incidence of asthma has been reported in inner-city children. The increased incidence of asthma in inner-city children is thought to be caused, in part, by frequent exposure to allergens of the common household pest the cockroach. Objective: We sought to investigate whether cockroach extract antigen (CrAg) induces vascular permeability factor, also known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and whether it increases permeability in bronchial airway epithelial cells (BAECs). Methods: We estimated CrAg-induced VEGF release in BAECs by using an ELISA and VEGF mRNA expression by using an RT-PCR reaction. The influence of CrAg on BAEC barrier function was estimated by measuring electrical resistance with an electric cell substrate impedance-sensing system. Results: Our results demonstrate that CrAg induces VEGF release in BAECs in a time-dependent manner. The VEGF induction was also confirmed by means of VEGF mRNA expression in CrAg-stimulated BAECs. CrAg decreased electrical resistance across BAEC monolayers. The maximum decrease in electrical resistance was noticed 6 hours after activation and reached a plateau thereafter. Neutralizing antibodies to VEGF significantly inhibited the decrease in BAEC electrical resistance caused by CrAg. Conclusions: These data suggest that CrAg induces VEGF release in BAECs and alters bronchial airway permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-595
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Bronchial airway epithelial cells
  • Bronchial epithelial permeability
  • Cockroach extract antigen
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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