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Parasitol Today. 2000 May;16(5):202-9.

The role of eosinophils in parasitic helminth infections: insights from genetically modified mice.

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Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Australian National University, Canberra 0200, Australia.


Eosinophilia - an increase in the number of eosinophils in the blood or tissues - has historically been recognized as a distinctive feature of helminth infections in mammals. Yet the precise functions of these cells are still poorly understood. Many scientists consider that their primary function is protection against parasites, although there is little unequivocal in vivo evidence to prove this. Eosinophils are also responsible for considerable pathology in mammals because they are inevitably present in large numbers in inflammatory lesions associated with helminth infections or allergic conditions. In this review, Carolyn Behm and Karen Ovington outline some of the cellular and biological properties of eosinophils and evaluate the evidence for their role(s) in parasitic infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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