, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 402-412
Date: 09 Aug 2012

Therapeutic Strategies for Harnessing Human Eosinophils in Allergic Inflammation, Hypereosinophilic Disorders, and Cancer

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Abstract

The eosinophil is a multifunctional granulocyte best known for providing host defense against parasites. Paradoxically, eosinophils are also implicated in the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation, asthma, and hypereosinophilic syndromes. Emerging evidence also supports the potential for harnessing the cytotoxic power of eosinophils and redirecting it to kill solid tumors. Central to eosinophil physiology is interleukin-5 (IL-5) and its receptor (IL-5R) which is composed of a ligand-specific alpha chain (IL-5Rα) and the common beta chain (βc). Eosinophil activation can lead to their degranulation, resulting in rapid release of an arsenal of tissue-destructive proinflammatory mediators and cytotoxic proteins that can be both beneficial and detrimental to the host. This review discusses eosinophil immunobiology and therapeutic strategies for targeting of IL-5 and IL-5R, as well as the potential for harnessing eosinophil cytotoxicity as a tumoricide.