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Allergy. 2004 Jan;59(1):15-25.

The physiological and pathophysiological roles of eosinophils in the gastrointestinal tract.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Kantonsspital Olten, Olten, Switzerland.


Eosinophils and the gastrointestinal tract interact in an intimate and enigmatic relationship. Under healthy conditions, the presence of eosinophils is limited almost exclusively to the digestive tract mucosa where they exert several effector and immunoregulatory functions. While their precise function in the gastrointestinal tract is not completely understood, it is likely that, together with different T cell subsets, eosinophils are involved in maintaining the immunologic homeostastis across the mucosal barrier under resting conditions. Eosinophils also play a role in several inflammatory conditions, such as intestinal infections, hypersensitivity reactions, primary eosinophilic inflammations and several other chronic intestinal disorders. Depending on the responsible trigger, their effects may be beneficial or detrimental. Here, we discuss the available information regarding the physiological and pathological functions of eosinophils within the gastrointestinal tract.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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