Eosinophils are rare granulocytes that belong to the innate arm of the immune system. This cell population is traditionally defined as a destructive and cytotoxic mediator in asthma and helminth infection. Limited data in transplantation have suggested that eosinophils play a similar role in potentiating deleterious organ inflammation and immunologic rejection. Contrary to this long-held notion, recent data have uncovered the possibility that eosinophils play an alternative role in immune homeostasis, defense against a wide range of pathogens, as well as downregulation of deleterious inflammation. Specifically, translational data from small animal models of lung transplantation have demonstrated a critical role for eosinophils in the downregulation of alloimmunity. These findings shed new light on the unique immunologic features of the lung allograft and demonstrate that environmental polarization may alter the phenotype and function of leukocyte populations previously thought to be static in nature. In this review, we provide an update on eosinophils in the homeostasis of the lung as well as other solid organs.
- basic (laboratory) research/science
- cellular biology
- lung disease: immune/inflammatory
- lung transplantation/pulmonology
- lymphocyte biology