Eosinophils: changing perspectives in health and disease

Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Jan;13(1):9-22. doi: 10.1038/nri3341. Epub 2012 Nov 16.


Eosinophils have been traditionally perceived as terminally differentiated cytotoxic effector cells. Recent studies have profoundly altered this simplistic view of eosinophils and their function. New insights into the molecular pathways that control the development, trafficking and degranulation of eosinophils have improved our understanding of the immunomodulatory functions of these cells and their roles in promoting homeostasis. Likewise, recent developments have generated a more sophisticated view of how eosinophils contribute to the pathogenesis of different diseases, including asthma and primary hypereosinophilic syndromes, and have also provided us with a more complete appreciation of the activities of these cells during parasitic infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Cell Degranulation / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Eosinophilia / etiology
  • Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Hypereosinophilic Syndrome / etiology
  • Hypereosinophilic Syndrome / immunology
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Parasitic Diseases / immunology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Immunologic