Eosinophils are dispensable for allergic remodeling and immunity in a model of house dust mite-induced airway disease

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Jan 15;183(2):179-88. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200905-0736OC. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


Rationale: Current thinking accredits eosinophils with preeminent contributions to allergic airway responses, including a major role in the development of airway remodeling, a process thought to significantly contribute to airway dysfunction. However, direct evidence in support of this notion is limited and often controversial.

Objectives: We elucidated the requirement for eosinophils in the generation of allergic sensitization, airway inflammation, and remodeling in a model involving chronic respiratory exposure to house dust mite (HDM).

Methods: We used three methods to selectively eliminate eosinophils, a depleting antibody (anti-CCR3), and two strains of eosinophil-deficient mice (ΔdblGATA and the transgenic line PHIL).

Measurements and main results: Anti-CCR3 treatment markedly reduced pulmonary eosinophilia (> 80%) over the course of HDM exposure but had no effect on the remaining inflammatory response, the extent of lung Th2 cells, or the development of remodeling-associated changes, including subepithelial collagen deposition and smooth muscle thickening. In addition, we observed that, despite the absence of eosinophils, HDM-exposed GATA mice mounted robust airway and lung inflammation and hyperresponsiveness and showed a remodeling response equivalent to that observed in wild-type mice. Moreover, these mice had similar serum HDM-specific IgE levels and Th2-associated splenocyte cytokine production as HDM-exposed wild-type control mice. Similar observations were made in PHIL eosinophil-deficient mice subjected to chronic HDM exposure, although slight decreases in airway mononuclear cells, but not lung Th2 cells, and remodeling were noted.

Conclusions: Collectively, these data demonstrate that, at variance with the prevailing paradigm, eosinophils play negligible roles in the generation of HDM-induced allergic immunity and airway remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Collagen / immunology
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pyroglyphidae / immunology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / immunology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism


  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Collagen