Indexed on: 22 May '08Published on: 22 May '08Published in: Best Practice & Research: Clinical Gastroenterology
Eosinophils have been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Immunohistopathological studies have revealed accumulation and activation of eosinophils in actively inflamed intestinal mucosa of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients. Elevated levels of chemokines relevant for eosinophil chemotaxis and mediator release from eosinophils can be detected in serum and faeces of patients with active IBD. Animal studies have revealed that abrogation of chemokines (such as eotaxin) promoting eosinophil chemotaxis and circulation results in decreased severity of murine experimental colitis, suggesting a pro-inflammatory role for eosinophils in IBD. Furthermore, selective deletion of certain eosinophil-specific granule products results in attenuation of experimental intestinal inflammation. Shortly after their initial discovery by Ehrlich, eosinophils have been associated with intestinal tumours. However, as only very few studies have addressed the role of eosinophils in intestinal cancerogenesis, their impact on intestinal tumour development remains obscure; in particular, functional data are missing.