Eosinophils in Health and Disease: A State-of-the-Art Review

Michael E. Wechsler*, Ariel Munitz, Steven J. Ackerman, Matthew G. Drake, David J. Jackson, Andrew J. Wardlaw, Stephanie K. Dougan, Sergejs Berdnikovs, Florence Schleich, Andrea Matucci, Pascal Chanez, Charlene M. Prazma, Peter Howarth, Peter F. Weller, Peter A. Merkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Eosinophils play a homeostatic role in the body's immune responses. These cells are involved in combating some parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections and certain cancers and have pathologic roles in diseases including asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders, and hypereosinophilic syndromes. Treatment of eosinophilic diseases has traditionally been through nonspecific eosinophil attenuation by use of glucocorticoids. However, several novel biologic therapies targeting eosinophil maturation factors, such as interleukin (IL)-5 and the IL-5 receptor or IL-4/IL-13, have recently been approved for clinical use. Despite the success of biologic therapies, some patients with eosinophilic inflammatory disease may not achieve adequate symptom control, underlining the need to further investigate the contribution of patient characteristics, such as comorbidities and other processes, in driving ongoing disease activity. New research has shown that eosinophils are also involved in several homeostatic processes, including metabolism, tissue remodeling and development, neuronal regulation, epithelial and microbiome regulation, and immunoregulation, indicating that these cells may play a crucial role in metabolic regulation and organ function in healthy humans. Consequently, further investigation is needed into the homeostatic roles of eosinophils and eosinophil-mediated processes across different tissues and their varied microenvironments. Such work may provide important insights into the role of eosinophils not only under disease conditions but also in health. This narrative review synthesizes relevant publications retrieved from PubMed informed by author expertise to provide new insights into the diverse roles of eosinophils in health and disease, with particular emphasis on the implications for current and future development of eosinophil-targeted therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2694-2707
Number of pages14
JournalMayo Clinic Proceedings
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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