Eosinophil Knockout Humans: Uncovering the Role of Eosinophils Through Eosinophil-Directed Biological Therapies

Annu Rev Immunol. 2021 Apr 26;39:719-757. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-093019-125918. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


The enigmatic eosinophil has emerged as an exciting component of the immune system, involved in a plethora of homeostatic and inflammatory responses. Substantial progress has been achieved through experimental systems manipulating eosinophils in vivo, initially in mice and more recently in humans. Researchers using eosinophil knockout mice have identified a contributory role for eosinophils in basal and inflammatory processes and protective immunity. Primarily fueled by the purported proinflammatory role of eosinophils in eosinophil-associated diseases, a series of anti-eosinophil therapeutics have emerged as a new class of drugs. These agents, which dramatically deplete eosinophils, provide a valuable opportunity to characterize the consequences of eosinophil knockout humans. Herein, we comparatively describe mouse and human eosinophil knockouts. We put forth the view that human eosinophils negatively contribute to a variety of diseases and, unlike mouse eosinophils, do not yet have an identified role in physiological health; thus, clarifying all roles of eosinophils remains an ongoing pursuit.

Keywords: IL-5; biologic agents; eosinophil; eosinophil knockout; eosinophil-associated diseases; eosinophil-deficient mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy
  • Eosinophils*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations