Activated mouse eosinophils protect against lethal respiratory virus infection

Blood. 2014 Jan 30;123(5):743-52. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-05-502443. Epub 2013 Dec 2.


Eosinophils are recruited to the airways as a prominent feature of the asthmatic inflammatory response where they are broadly perceived as promoting pathophysiology. Respiratory virus infections exacerbate established asthma; however, the role of eosinophils and the nature of their interactions with respiratory viruses remain uncertain. To explore these questions, we established acute infection with the rodent pneumovirus, pneumonia virus of mice (PVM), in 3 distinct mouse models of Th2 cytokine-driven asthmatic inflammation. We found that eosinophils recruited to the airways of otherwise naïve mice in response to Aspergillus fumigatus, but not ovalbumin sensitization and challenge, are activated by and degranulate specifically in response to PVM infection. Furthermore, we demonstrate that activated eosinophils from both Aspergillus antigen and cytokine-driven asthma models are profoundly antiviral and promote survival in response to an otherwise lethal PVM infection. Thus, although activated eosinophils within a Th2-polarized inflammatory response may have pathophysiologic features, they are also efficient and effective mediators of antiviral host defense.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / immunology
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / microbiology
  • Cell Degranulation
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / physiology
  • Eosinophils / virology
  • Female
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lung / virology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Murine pneumonia virus / immunology*
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Pneumovirus Infections / immunology*


  • Ovalbumin