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Bidirectional crosstalk between eosinophils and esophageal epithelial cells regulates inflammatory and remodeling processes


Eosinophils accumulate adjacent to epithelial cells in the mucosa of patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), yet the bidirectional communication between these cells is not well understood. Herein, we investigated the crosstalk between human eosinophils and esophageal epithelial cells. We report that blood-derived eosinophils have prolonged survival when cocultured with epithelial cells; 96 ± 1% and 30 ± 6% viability was observed after 7 and 14 days of coculture, respectively, compared with 1 ± 0% and 0 ± 0% of monoculture. In the presence of IL-13 and epithelial cells, eosinophils had greater survival (68 ± 1%) at 14 days compared with cocultures lacking IL-13. Prolonged eosinophil viability did not require cellular contact and was observed when eosinophils were cultured in conditioned media from esophageal epithelial cells; neutralizing GM-CSF attenuated eosinophil survival. The majority of eosinophil transcripts (58%) were dysregulated in cocultured eosinophils compared with freshly isolated cells. Analysis of epithelial cell transcripts indicated that exposure to eosinophils induced differential expression of a subset of genes that were part of the EoE esophageal transcriptome. Collectively, these results uncover a network of crosstalk between eosinophils and esophageal epithelial cells involving epithelial mediated eosinophil survival and reciprocal changes in cellular transcripts, events likely to occur in EoE.

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  • Immune & Epithelial Interactions