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J Immunol. 2007 Oct 1;179(7):4766-74.

Analysis of eosinophil turnover in vivo reveals their active recruitment to and prolonged survival in the peritoneal cavity.

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  • 1Institute for Immunology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.


Eosinophils are potent effector cells associated with allergic inflammation and parasite infections. However, limited information exists about their turnover, migration, and survival in vivo. To address these important questions, we determined murine eosinophil turnover under steady state and inflammatory conditions by flow cytometric analysis of BrdU incorporation and analyzed their migration pattern and survival in different tissues after adoptive transfer into recipient mice. In naive mice approximately 50% of bone marrow eosinophils were labeled with BrdU during a 15-h pulse, whereas only 10% of splenic eosinophils were labeled within this time frame. Unexpectedly, the rate of eosinophil production did not change during acute infection with the helminth parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis despite massive eosinophilia in several tissues. Eosinophils present in lung and peritoneum remained largely BrdU negative, indicating that eosinophilia in end organs was mainly caused by increased survival of already existing eosinophils rather than increased production of new eosinophils in the bone marrow. Adoptive transfer experiments revealed that eosinophils preferentially migrated to the peritoneum in a macrophage-independent and pertussis toxin-sensitive manner, where they survived for several days. Peritoneal eosinophils expressed high levels of the inhibitory receptor Siglec-F, released less eosinophil peroxidase compared with eosinophils from the spleen, and could recirculate to other organs. These results demonstrate that the peritoneum serves as reservoir for eosinophils.

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