Defining a link with asthma in mice congenitally deficient in eosinophils.
Eosinophils are often dominant inflammatory cells present in the lungs of asthma patients. Nonetheless, the role of these leukocytes remains poorly understood. We have created a transgenic line of mice (PHIL) that are specifically devoid of eosinophils, but otherwise have a full complement of hematopoietically derived cells. Allergen challenge of PHIL mice demonstrated that eosinophils were required for pulmonary mucus accumulation and the airway hyperresponsiveness associated with asthma. The development of an eosinophil-less mouse now permits an unambiguous assessment of a number of human diseases that have been linked to this granulocyte, including allergic diseases, parasite infections, and tumorigenesis.