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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Nov;128(5):1086-92.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.05.032. Epub 2011 Jul 16.

IL-5 receptor α levels in patients with marked eosinophilia or mastocytosis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.



IL-5 plays a central role in the development and maintenance of eosinophilia (EO) and eosinophil activation in a wide variety of eosinophilic disorders. Although IL-5, IL-3, and GM-CSF can modulate the expression of IL-5 receptor α (IL-5Rα) on eosinophils in vitro, little is known about soluble and surface IL-5Rα levels in vivo.


To assess soluble and surface IL-5Rα levels in patients with EO and/or mastocytosis.


Surface IL-5Rα expression was assessed by flow cytometry in blood and/or bone marrow from subjects with EO (n = 39) and systemic mastocytosis (n = 8) and from normal volunteers (n = 28). Soluble IL-5Rα (sIL-5Rα) level was measured in a cohort of 177 untreated subjects and correlated with EO, eosinophil activation, and serum tryptase and cytokine levels.


IL-5Rα expression on eosinophils inversely correlated with EO (r = -0.48; P < .0001), whereas serum levels of sIL-5Rα increased with the eosinophil count (r = 0.56; P < .0001) and serum IL-5 (r = 0.40; P < .0001) and IL-13 (r = 0.29; P = .004) levels. Of interest, sIL-5Rα level was significantly elevated in patients with systemic mastocytosis without EO. Although sIL-5Rα levels correlated with serum tryptase levels in these patients, eosinophil activation, assessed by CD69 expression on eosinophils and serum eosinophil-derived neurotoxin levels, was increased compared with that in normal subjects.


These data are consistent with an in vivo IL-5Rα regulatory pathway in human eosinophils similar to that described in vitro and involving a balance between soluble and surface receptor levels. This may have implications with respect to the use of novel therapeutic agents targeting IL-5 and its receptor in patients with EO and/or mastocytosis.

Published by Mosby, Inc.

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