Recent Developments in Targeting Eosinophil Accumulation as a Novel Therapeutic Approach for Asthma

Garry M. Walsh*, Alexander J. Robinson, Ping Wu
School of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB24 2ZD, UK.

© 2008 Walsh et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB24c 2ZD, UK; E-mail:


Current therapies for asthma are aimed at controlling disease symptoms and for the majority of patients inhaled glucocorticoid anti-inflammatory therapy is both effective and well-tolerated. However, concerns remain about the adverse effects of glucocorticoids while a subset of asthmatic patients remains symptomatic despite optimal treatment thereby creating a clear unmet medical need. There is considerable evidence that implicates eosinophils as important effector cells and immunomodulators in the inflammation characteristic of asthma. Numerous in vitro and animal studies have demonstrated essential roles for cell adhesion molecules in eosinophil adhesion and transendothelial migration including the selectins, ICAM-1, VCAM-1 together with many of the μ1 and μ2 integrins. A large body of evidence has also implicated several cytokines and chemokines in the selective recruitment of eosinophils to sites of asthmatic inflammation. Biopharmaceutical approaches have been used to identify inhibitory molecules that target key elements in the processes controlling eosinophil accumulation in asthma. This review will summarise the problems and successes regarding recent developments in therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing eosinophil-mediated inflammation in the asthmatic lung.