New diagnostic tool for differentiation of idiopathic

Tímea BERKI1, Marianna DÁVID2, Beáta BÓNÉ1, Hajna LOSONCZY2, János VASS3, Péter NÉMETH1

1Department of Immunology and Biotechnology, University of Pécs, Medical Faculty, Pécs, Hungary
2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pécs, Medical Faculty, Pécs, Hungary
3Department of Pathology, University of Pécs, Medical Faculty, Pécs, Hungary


The hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is a very rare disease, characterized by persistent eosinophilia with tissue involvement and organ dysfunction which often precedes a subsequent T cell lymphoma. Interleukin-5 secreted by a T lymphocyte subpopulation has been described in previous reports as the most important factor responsible for the prolonged lifespan of the eosinophils. The goal of the present study was to describe a fast, simple diagnostic method for the differentiation of HES and secondary eosinophilic states. Beside the surface marker analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) we measured surface bound IgE molecules on lymphocytes and eosinophil cells, intracellular cytokines (IL-5, INFg g) in CD4+ lymphocytes and eosinophil major basic protein (MBP) in eosinophils using flow cytometric detection method. The appearance of an IL-5 producing cell population with a decreased number of INFg gpositive lymphocytes was characteristic for the blood samples of HES patients. Predominance of Th2 cells with the appearance of a CD8+/CD3–/CD56+ cell population was restricted for the HES cases and could not be detected in secondary eosinophilic individuals. Our flow cytometric cytokine detection method (with parallel cell surface marker analysis) does not require cell separation or long term cell culture steps previously described for the detection of IL-5 producing cells. Therefore it seems to be a more appropriate approach for the differential diagnosis of primary and secondary eosinophilic states. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 7, Nr 4, 292-297, 2001

Key words: hypereosinophilic syndrome; IL-5; INFg; Th1-Th2 balance; flow cytometry

Received: Oct 16, 2001; accepted: Nov 19, 2001
Correspondence: Tímea BERKI, Department of Immunology and Biotechnology, University of Pécs, Medical Faculty, Szigeti út 12. Pécs H-7643, Hungary; E-mail:

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