Dysregulation of interleukin 5 expression in familial eosinophilia

Allergy. 2017 Sep;72(9):1338-1345. doi: 10.1111/all.13146. Epub 2017 Apr 18.


Background: Familial eosinophilia (FE) is a rare autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterized by the presence of lifelong peripheral eosinophilia (>1500/μL). Mapped to chromosome 5q31-q33, the genetic cause of FE is unknown, and prior studies have failed to demonstrate a primary abnormality in the eosinophil lineage.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the cells driving the eosinophilia in FE.

Methods: Microarray analysis and real-time PCR were used to examine transcriptional differences in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and in purified cell subsets from affected and unaffected family members belonging to a single large kindred. Cytokine levels in serum and PBMC culture supernatants were assessed by suspension array multiplexed immunoassays.

Results: Whereas IL-5 mRNA expression was significantly increased in freshly isolated PBMC from affected family members, this was not accompanied by increased mRNA expression of other Th2 cytokines (IL-4 or IL-13). Serum levels of IL-5 and IL-5 receptor α, but not IgE, were similarly increased in affected family members. Of note, IL-5 mRNA expression was significantly increased in purified CD3+ CD4+, CD14+, CD19+, and ILC2 cells from affected family members, as were IL-5 protein levels in supernatants from both stimulated PBMC and ILC2 cultures.

Conclusions: These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the eosinophilia in FE is secondary to dysregulation of IL-5 production in PBMC (and their component subsets).

Keywords: autosomal dominant; cytokine; eosinophil; hypereosinophilic syndrome; interleukin 5.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Eosinophilia / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-5 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-5 / blood
  • Interleukin-5 / genetics*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / blood
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • IL5 protein, human
  • Interleukin-5
  • RNA, Messenger

Supplementary concepts

  • Eosinophilia, Familial