Production of the eosinophilogenic cytokines interleukin 3 (IL-3), granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and IL-5 by mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells was compared between 11 noneosinophilic individuals and seven patients with helminth-induced eosinophilia. Both the kinetics and quantities of IL-3 and GM-CSF were similar in the two groups. In contrast, IL-5 production at both the protein and the mRNA level was markedly greater in the eosinophilic patients, an observation suggesting that IL-5 may be particularly important in mediating the selective eosinophilia seen in filarial and other helminth infections.

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