Eosinophilic endomyocardial disease represents a major evolutive risk in chronic eosinophilia-associated disorders. Eosinophil granule proteins appear to be involved in cardiac injury, but the mechanisms leading to eosinophil infiltration and degranulation are not clear. Interleukin-5 (IL-5) has been recently shown to be produced by eosinophils and might play a role in both chemoattraction and degranulation of eosinophils. In four cases of eosinophilic diseases with severe cardiac failure, we evaluated the proportion of eosinophil phenotypes and the serum levels of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R), markers of disease activity in the hypereosinophilic syndromes. All four patients showed a markedly increased proportion of hypodense eosinophils with elevated serum ECP and sIL-2R levels. In all four patients, extracellular deposition of eosinophil granule proteins and features of eosinophil activation were observed in cardiac tissues. The synthesis of IL-5 by eosinophils was detected in myocardial sections and blood cells by in situ hybridization and by immunostaining with a monoclonal antibody against human IL-5. Sixty percent to 90% of tissue eosinophils expressed IL-5 mRNA and IL-5 protein. These data suggest that IL-5 can be produced by eosinophils at the sites of myocardial tissue damage and might participate in local eosinophil activation.

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