Eosinophilia in atopic diseases and hypereosinophilic syndrome is often associated with a high expression of interleukin-5 (IL-5). IL-5 plays an important role in regulating the production, differentiation, recruitment, activation, and survival of eosinophils. Therefore, neutralizing IL-5 with an antibody is a promising therapeutic strategy in eosinophilic diseases. In patients with hypereosinophilic syndrome and eosinophilic esophagitis, anti-IL-5 antibody therapy resulted in an improvement of symptoms. In patients with bronchial asthma, no effect on the late phase reaction and on airway hyperresponsiveness has been observed. Moreover, patients with atopic dermatitis demonstrated only a moderate improvement of their skin lesions and pruritus. Anti-IL-5 therapy was followed by a rapid and sustained decrease of peripheral blood eosinophil numbers. The decrease of tissue eosinophils was, however, less dramatic. Investigating the effects of anti-IL-5 therapy will improve our understanding of the pathogenic roles of both IL-5 and eosinophils in eosinophilic inflammatory responses.

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