Eotaxin is an eosinophil-selective chemokine that is constitutively expressed in a variety of organs such as the intestine. Previous studies have demonstrated that the recruitment of eosinophils during inflammation is partially dependent on eotaxin, but the function of constitutive eotaxin during homeostasis has not been examined. To elucidate the biological role of this molecule, we now examine tissue levels of eosinophils in healthy states in wild-type and eotaxin-deficient mice. The lamina propria of the jejunum of wild-type mice is demonstrated to express eotaxin mRNA, but not mRNA for the related monocyte chemoattractant proteins. Wild-type mice contained readily detectable eosinophils in the lamina propria of the jejunum. In contrast, mice genetically deficient in eotaxin had a large selective reduction in the number of eosinophils residing in the jejunum. The reduction of tissue eosinophils was not limited to the jejunum, because a loss of thymic eosinophils was also observed in eotaxin-deficient mice. These studies demonstrate that eotaxin is a fundamental regulator of the physiological trafficking of eosinophils during healthy states. Because a variety of chemokines are constitutively expressed, their involvement in the baseline trafficking of leukocytes into nonhematopoietic tissue should now be considered
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