Fulkerson Lab

  • Eosinophil Progenitor Differentiation

    During differentiation into eosinophils, eosinophil-lineage committed progenitors (EoPs) go through intermediate stages prior to reaching maturity. A number of stimulatory and inhibitory factors regulate these events. We have developed ex vivo culture methods to differentiate EoPs into mature eosinophils in order to identify novel regulators of eosinophil development (i.e. eosinophilopoiesis). We can also apply these methods to study genetic modifications of EoPs and the downstream effects on eosinophilopoiesis, as well as to generate large numbers of mature cells to investigate eosinophil effector functions.

    Furthermore, eosinophils are exquisitely sensitive to their local microenvironment through expression of a plethora of receptors for cytokines, lipids and microbial products. Our high-yield culture methods allow for investigations into the regulation of these environmental sensors. These investigations could provide insight into eosinophil functional responses, such as the local degranulation and release of cytotoxic proteins, in tissues such as the lung in a patient with asthma or the esophagus in a patient with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

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    Project Funding

    2013 ARTrust™ Faculty Development Award
    Funding Agency: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)
    Project Title: Regulation of Eosinophil Progenitors by Toll-like Receptors
    Principal Investigator: Patricia C. Fulkerson, MD, PhD

    K08 KAI093573A
    Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health
    Project Title: Role of Spi-C in Eosinophil Development and Functional Responses
    Principal Investigator: Patricia C. Fulkerson, MD, PhD

  • EoP Differentiation

    Beautiful Eosinophils

    EoP Differentiation
    Eosinophils cultured from murine bone marrow progenitor cells are stained with an antibody specific to major basic protein (red), the most abundant granule protein in eosinophils. The cell nucleus (blue) of a murine eosinophil is often donut-shaped. Eosinophil activation in tissues results in the release of highly charged granule proteins, such as major basic protein. Eosinophil granule proteins are toxic to a number of different cell types. Deposition of these granules in tissues is a common finding in eosinophil-associated diseases and likely contributes to disease pathogenesis. We utilize our ex vivo culture systems to study the production of these toxic proteins.
  • Digestive Health Center

    Patricia C. Fulkerson, MD, PhD is an associate member of Cincinnati Children's Digestive Health Center (DHC), which is focused on bench-to-bedside research in pediatric digestive disease.
  • Targeting Eosinophils

    Recently, therapeutics that target eosinophils, by blocking specific steps of eosinophil development, migration or activation, have entered clinical testing and are having promising results.

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