Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

IL-5 triggers a cooperative cytokine network that promotes eosinophil precursor maturation.

PMID 25230753


Eosinophils originate in the bone marrow from an eosinophil lineage-committed, IL-5Rα-positive, hematopoietic progenitor (eosinophil progenitor). Indeed, IL-5 is recognized as a critical regulator of eosinophilia and has effects on eosinophil progenitors, eosinophil precursors, and mature eosinophils. However, substantial levels of eosinophils remain after IL-5 neutralization or genetic deletion, suggesting that there are alternative pathways for promoting eosinophilia. In this study, we investigated the contributory role of IL-5 accessory cytokines on the final stages of eosinophil differentiation. IL-5 stimulation of low-density bone marrow cells resulted in expression of a panel of cytokines and cytokine receptors, including several ligand-receptor pairs. Notably, IL-4 and IL-4Rα were expressed by eosinophil precursors and mature eosinophils. Signaling through IL-4Rα promoted eosinophil maturation when IL-5 was present, but IL-4 stimulation in the absence of IL-5 resulted in impaired eosinophil survival, suggesting that IL-4 cooperates with IL-5 to promote eosinophil differentiation. In contrast, CCL3, an eosinophil precursor-produced chemokine that signals through CCR1, promotes terminal differentiation of CCR1-positive eosinophil precursors in the absence of IL-5, highlighting an autocrine loop capable of sustaining eosinophil differentiation. These findings suggest that brief exposure to IL-5 is sufficient to initiate a cytokine cooperative network that promotes eosinophil differentiation of low-density bone marrow cells independent of further IL-5 stimulation.