Small intestinal resident eosinophils maintain gut homeostasis following microbial colonization

Immunity. 2022 Jul 12;55(7):1250-1267.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2022.05.014. Epub 2022 Jun 15.


The intestine harbors a large population of resident eosinophils, yet the function of intestinal eosinophils has not been explored. Flow cytometry and whole-mount imaging identified eosinophils residing in the lamina propria along the length of the intestine prior to postnatal microbial colonization. Microscopy, transcriptomic analysis, and mass spectrometry of intestinal tissue revealed villus blunting, altered extracellular matrix, decreased epithelial cell turnover, increased gastrointestinal motility, and decreased lipid absorption in eosinophil-deficient mice. Mechanistically, intestinal epithelial cells released IL-33 in a microbiota-dependent manner, which led to eosinophil activation. The colonization of germ-free mice demonstrated that eosinophil activation in response to microbes regulated villous size alterations, macrophage maturation, epithelial barrier integrity, and intestinal transit. Collectively, our findings demonstrate a critical role for eosinophils in facilitating the mutualistic interactions between the host and microbiota and provide a rationale for the functional significance of their early life recruitment in the small intestine.

Keywords: eosinophil; extracellular matrix; germ-free; intestinal barrier; microbiome; small intestine; tissue homeostasis; villous atrophy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • Eosinophils
  • Homeostasis
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Intestine, Small
  • Mice
  • Microbiota*

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