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Eosinophils and eosinophil-associated disorders: immunological, clinical, and molecular complexity.

Eosinophils and their mediators play a crucial role in various reactive states such as bacterial and viral infections, chronic inflammatory disorders, and certain hematologic malignancies. Depending on the underlying pathology, molecular defect(s), and the cytokine- and mediator-cascades involved, peripheral blood and tissue hypereosinophilia (HE) may develop and may lead to organ dysfunction or even organ damage which usually leads to the diagnosis of a HE syndrome (HES). In some of these patients, the etiology and impact of HE remain unclear. These patients are diagnosed with idiopathic HE. In other patients, HES is diagnosed but the etiology remains unknown - these patients are classified as idiopathic HES. For patients with HES, early therapeutic application of agents reducing eosinophil counts is usually effective in avoiding irreversible organ damage. Therefore, it is important to systematically explore various diagnostic markers and to correctly identify the disease elicitors and etiology. Depending on the presence and type of underlying disease, HES are classified into primary (clonal) HES, reactive HES, and idiopathic HES. In most of these patients, effective therapies can be administered. The current article provides an overview of the pathogenesis of eosinophil-associated disorders, with special emphasis on the molecular, immunological, and clinical complexity of HE and HES. In addition, diagnostic criteria and the classification of eosinophil disorders are reviewed in light of new developments in the field.

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