Experiments were designed to study the effect of systemically administered IL-5 on local eosinophil accumulation induced by the intradermal injection of the chemokine eotaxin in the guinea pig. Intravenous interleukin-5 (IL-5) stimulated a rapid and dramatic increase in the numbers of accumulating eosinophils induced by i.d.-injected eotaxin and, for comparison, leukotriene B4. The numbers of locally accumulating eosinophils correlated directly with a rapid increase in circulating eosinophils: circulating eosinophil numbers were 13-fold higher 1 h after intravenous IL-5 (18.3 pmol/kg). This increase in circulating cells corresponded with a reduction in the number of displaceable eosinophils recovered after flushing out the femur bone marrow cavity. Intradermal IL-5, at the doses tested, did not induce significant eosinophil accumulation. We propose that these experiments simulate important early features of the tissue response to local allergen exposure in a sensitized individual, with eosinophil chemoattractant chemokines having an important local role in eosinophil recruitment from blood microvessels, and IL-5 facilitating this process by acting remotely as a hormone to stimulate the release into the circulation of a rapidly mobilizable pool of bone marrow eosinophils. This action of IL-5 would be complementary to the other established activities of IL-5 that operate over a longer time course.

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