Evidence for a role for IL-5 and eotaxin in activating and recruiting eosinophils in drug-induced cutaneous eruptions

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 Dec;106(6):1171-6. doi: 10.1067/mai.2000.110922.


Background: Cutaneous drug reactions may be associated with increased numbers of eosinophils in the blood and tissue. However, the factors leading to the generation of eosinophilia have not been fully delineated.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the in situ expression of IL-5, eotaxin, RANTES, monocyte chemoattractant protein 3, and IL-8 together with the appearance of eosinophils in acute cutaneous drug reactions.

Methods: Skin biopsy specimens were obtained from drug-induced maculopapular exanthems (n = 9), from normal skin of control subjects (n = 9), and from the skin of patients with psoriasis (n = 8). The in situ expression of IL-5, eotaxin, RANTES, monocyte chemoattractant protein 3, and IL-8 was analyzed by using immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, the corresponding numbers of eosinophils were determined in the blood and skin sections.

Results: Compared with normal skin and psoriatic skin, a significantly higher number of eosinophils was found both in the blood and tissue of patients with a drug-induced exanthem. In comparison with normal skin, immunoreactivity for IL-5 and all the chemokines was also significantly enhanced in drug-induced exanthem, whereas significant differences in psoriatic were only observed for IL-5 and eotaxin.

Conclusion: Our data indicate that IL-5 and eotaxin may particularly contribute to the activation and recruitment of eosinophils and thereby play an important pathogenic part in the development of skin inflammation in drug-induced maculopapular exanthems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemokine CCL11
  • Chemokines, CC*
  • Chemotactic Factors, Eosinophil / physiology*
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Drug Eruptions / blood*
  • Eosinophils / chemistry*
  • Exanthema / blood
  • Exanthema / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-5 / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / pathology


  • CCL11 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL11
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Chemotactic Factors, Eosinophil
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-5