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The interleukin-5 messenger RNA expression in a patient with idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome


Dr Lai Department of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong.


Interleukin-5 has a specific role in various eosinophilic activities. It is the predominant cytokine produces by activated T-lymphocytes isolated from patients with idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. We studied a young patient suffering from idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome who presented with Horner's syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and skin ulcers. The IL-5 gene expression by CD4+ T-lymphocytes and the peripheral eosinophil count were raised. The skin ulcers continued to deteriorate despite a swift reduction of the IL-5 gene expression and peripheral eosinophil count following systemic corticosteroid treatment. We suggest that peripheral eosinophilia may not be responsible for the damage in skin lesions and more aggressive treatment may be required.