Hepatic recruitment of eosinophils and their protective function during acute liver injury

Long Xu, Yang Yang, Yankai Wen, Jong Min Jeong, Christoph Emontzpohl, Constance L. Atkins, Zhaoli Sun, Kyle L. Poulsen, David R. Hall, J. Steve Bynon, Bin Gao, William M. Lee, Jody Rule, Elizabeth A. Jacobsen, Hua Wang, Cynthia Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aims: Beyond the classical description of eosinophil functions in parasite infections and allergic diseases, emerging evidence supports a critical role of eosinophils in resolving inflammation and promoting tissue remodeling. However, the role of eosinophils in liver injury and the underlying mechanism of their recruitment into the liver remain unclear. Methods: Hepatic eosinophils were detected and quantified using flow cytometry and immunohistochemical staining. Eosinophil-deficient (ΔdblGata1) mice were used to investigate the role of eosinophils in 3 models of acute liver injury. In vivo experiments using Il33-/- mice and macrophage-depleted mice, as well as in vitro cultures of eosinophils and macrophages, were performed to interrogate the mechanism of eotaxin-2 (CCL24) production. Results: Hepatic accumulation of eosinophils was observed in patients with acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver failure, whereas few eosinophils were detectable in healthy liver tissues. In mice treated with APAP, carbon tetrachloride or concanavalin A, eosinophils were recruited into the liver and played a profound protective role. Mice deficient of macrophages or IL-33 exhibited impaired hepatic eosinophil recruitment during acute liver injury. CCL24, but not CCL11, was increased after treatment of each hepatotoxin in an IL-33 and macrophage-dependent manner. In vitro experiments demonstrated that IL-33, by stimulating IL-4 release from eosinophils, promoted the production of CCL24 by macrophages. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that hepatic recruitment of and protection by eosinophils occur commonly in various models of acute liver injury. Our findings support further exploration of eosinophils as a therapeutic target to treat APAP-induced acute liver injury. Lay summary: The current study unveils that eosinophils are recruited into the liver and play a protective function during acute liver injury caused by acetaminophen overdose. The data demonstrate that IL-33-activated eosinophils trigger macrophages to release high amounts of CCL24, which promotes hepatic eosinophil recruitment. Our findings suggest that eosinophils could be an effective cell-based therapy for the treatment of acetaminophen-induced acute liver injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of hepatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • CCL24
  • Eosinophils
  • IL-33
  • acute liver injury
  • macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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