• Chemokines;
  • Chemotaxis;
  • Eosinophils;
  • Human


Epithelial cells play an important role in orchestrating mucosal immune responses. In allergic-type inflammation, epithelial cells control the recruitment of eosinophils into the mucosa. Th2-type cytokine-driven release of eosinophil-active chemokines from epithelial cells directs eosinophil migration into the mucosal epithelium. CCR3, the main eosinophil chemokine receptor, regulates this process; however, the respective contribution of individual CCR3 ligands in eosinophil transepithelial migration is less well understood. Using an in vitro transepithelial chemotaxis system, we found that eotaxin-3 produced by IL-4-stimulated airway epithelial cells and CCR3 on eosinophils exclusively mediate eosinophil transepithelial migration. Eotaxin-3 protein levels were also increased in the nasal mucosal epithelium recovered from allergic patients as compared to non-allergic patients. Surprisingly, eotaxin-3 in IL-4-stimulated airway epithelial cells was predominantly cell surface bound, and the cell surface form was critical for eosinophil transepithelial migration. Eotaxin-3 cell surface association was partially glycosaminoglycan (GAG) dependent, but was completely protein dependent, suggesting that eotaxin-3 associates with both GAG and cell surface proteins. We thus provide evidence that cell surface-associated eotaxin-3 is the critical IL-4-dependent chemotactic signal mediating eosinophil transepithelial migration in the setting of allergic inflammation.