Focus on Eosinophils: Homeostasis and Disease
Eosinophils have been considered end-stage cells involved in host protection against parasites. However, numerous lines of evidence have now changed this perspective by showing that eosinophils are pleiotropic multifunctional leukocytes involved in initiation and propagation of diverse inflammatory responses, as well as modulators of innate and adaptive immunity. For example, the Rothenberg laboratory has found that intestinal eosinophils regulate the production of secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA).
We are examining new views on the role of eosinophils in homeostatic function, including developmental biology and innate and adaptive immunity (as well as interaction with mast cells, B cells and T cells). We are studying the molecular steps involved in eosinophil development and trafficking, with special attention to the important role of eosinophil-selective cytokines such as interleukin 5 (IL-5), the eotaxin subfamily of chemokines, IL-13 and epithelial gene products.
We are investigating the role of eosinophils in disease processes including infections, asthma and gastrointestinal disorders. We are studying the consequences of genetically engineered eosinophil-deficient mice. Genetic approaches to understanding eosinophil-associated human diseases are a focus area. Why patients develop eosinophilic disorders, focused on genetic and environmental factors and their interactions, are priority research topics. Finally, we are pursuing strategies for diagnostics (e.g., PEESS v2.0) and targeted therapeutic intervention in eosinophil-mediated diseases.