Chronic filarial patients exhibit an occult manifestation, Tropical Pulmonary Eosinophilia, (TPE), caused by an exaggerated immune response to shed and circulating filarial antigens, leading to extensive lung damage. We have attempted to examine the disease in vitro using the human epithelial cell line, HEp2. Filarial sheath proteins induce apoptosis in HEp2 cells characterized by chromatin condensation, internucleosomal DNA cleavage, positive staining for TUNEL assay and shows a sub-G1 peak on FACS analysis. In order to understand subcellular events and to analyse the protective role of bcl2, we engineered HEp2 to overexpress Bcl2 protein. HEp2 bcl2 cells do not undergo apoptosis on exposure to filarial sheath protein, indicating that filarial protein-induced apoptosis in epithelial cells proceeds via a pathway, inhibitable by overexpression of bcl 2.