Systemic aspects of allergic disease: the role of the bone marrow
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In recent years, there has been an increasing appreciation of the important contribution of bone-marrow-related, hemopoietic mechanisms to allergic diseases. Eosinophil/basophil-progenitor levels fluctuate in the peripheral blood during allergen exposure and the cells home to peripheral tissue, where they differentiate. It is becoming apparent that several cytokines, particularly IL-5, have multiple effects on progenitors and allergic inflammation. Within the past few years, studies of the therapeutic implications of this bone marrow contribution to atopy have been initiated; the effects of corticosteroids, leukotriene-receptor blockers, antagonism of IL-5 and modulation of differentiation by retinoic acid on progenitors will be reviewed.
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