We recently demonstrated in vivo that IL-5 was an important mediator of eosinophilia in mice with parasite infections. In this study, we examined whether or not IL-5 was actually responsible for the eosinophilia induced by injection of human rIL-2. Mice administered hIL-2 developed eosinophilia during the course of the series of injections. This eosinophilia could be suppressed by a single injection of mAb against murine IL-5. The number of eosinophilic precursors increased more in the spleen cells of the IL-2-treated mice in comparison to the control mice, although in bone marrow precursors showed little change. Similarly, the number of granulocytic precursors increased markedly in the spleen cells of IL-2-treated mice. In vitro polymerase chain reaction amplification of cDNA subfragments corresponding to IL-5 mRNA (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), followed by Southern blot analysis, revealed enhancement of IL-5 mRNA expression in spleen cells 3 days after starting the human IL-2 injections. We also observed enhanced murine IL-5 mRNA expression in spleen cells stimulated with IL-2 in vitro. The level of murine IL-5 mRNA expression by IL-2-stimulated spleen cells from normal mice increased at 24 h, reached a plateau after 48 h, and decreased again within 72 h of starting culture. These results indicate that the eosinophilia induced by IL-2 in vivo is presumably mediated by IL-5 released from IL-2-stimulated lymphocytes.

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