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Adv Immunol. 1986;39:177-253.

The eosinophilic leukocyte: structure and function.


The evidence reviewed here indicates that the eosinophil has the ability to kill many species of helminths and likely does so during worm infection. This toxic ability appears to be regulated by several other cells including mast cells, monocytes, and T lymphocytes. Eosinophils kill helminths through their ability to generate potent oxidants and through their content of cationic proteins, which likely achieve high concentrations at points of granule deposition. Eosinophils also participate in inflammation in human disease especially asthma, skin diseases, and heart disease. Though present concepts hold that the mast cell is the cornerstone of the allergic inflammatory response (450), the findings that eosinophils bind IgE and are activated by antigen-IgE complexes and that the eosinophil can elaborate many inflammatory mediators raise the possibility that the eosinophil might also be involved in the initiation of inflammatory responses. Finally, an eosinophil-related protein appears to play an undefined role in human reproduction.

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