Eosinophil Chemotactic Factors

Sabine Krüger-Krasagakes and Beate M Henz, Department of Dermatology, Charité and Virchow Klinikum, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany

The discovery of eosinophils by Paul Ehrlich in 1879 and the first description of the process of directed single cell locomotion (chemotaxis) by Wilhelm Pfeiffer in 1884 are closely related in time. Ehrlich also noted increases in blood and tissue eosinophils in a great variety of diseases such as parasitoses, asthma, malignant tumors, vesicular and diverse other dermatoses, and in postinfectious reactions ('the pink dawn of recuperation'), but not in acute bacterial infections.

Efforts to explain the increase of eosinophils in these diseases during the subsequent decades resulted in studies in which a great variety of agents were injected into animals. Substances that induced tissue eosinophilia were sensitized lymphoid tissue, proteins, carbohydrates, synthetic polymers, parasite extracts and histamine. The question as to whether these agents were chemotactic by themselves or only chemotaxogenic, i.e. inducing the production of chemotactic factors after injection into the tissue, could only be resolved with the availability of in vitro methods to measure chemotaxis (Boyden chambers) in 1962. The current model for eosinophil accumulation in tissues involves multiple separate steps: eosinopoiesis in the bone marrow, generation and action of chemoattractants, eosinophil adhesion to endothelial cells, and extravasation, tissue eosinophil survival and eosinophil priming and activation.

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