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Interleukin-2 inhibits eosinophil migration but is counteracted by IL-5 priming


Maria Lampinen, Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail:


Conflicting data on the role of interleukin-2 in the recruitment of eosinophil granulocytes (EOS) to sites of inflammation have been presented. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of recombinant human IL-2 and anti-IL-2 on the migration of purified blood EOS.

Neutralizing antibodies to IL-2 were added to a cytokine mixture with significant eosinophil chemotactic activity (ECA), and afterwards the ECA was tested on EOS from both normal and allergic donors. EOS migration was measured by a modification of the Boyden technique, using a 48-well microchemotaxis chamber. Recombinant human IL-2 was either added to the lower compartment of the chemotaxis chamber, or to the EOS for a pre-incubation period of 20 min, before migration assays towards the chemotaxins were performed.

Anti-IL-2 caused a significant increase of EOS migration towards the cytokine mixture. Pre-incubation of the EOS with rhIL-2 inhibited the chemotaxis towards RANTES, PAF, IL-8 and eotaxin, and EOS migration towards IL-2 was lower than that towards buffer. These effects were more pronounced on EOS from normal than from allergic donors. Priming of the EOS with IL-5 prevented the inhibitory effect of IL-2.

We hypothesize that IL-2 acts as an autocrine regulator of EOS migration, and that this inhibitory effect may be downregulated in allergy, allowing an increased migration of EOS towards chemotactic factors.