Eosinophils are a subset of differentiated granulocytes which circulate in peripheral blood and home in several body tissues. Along with their traditional relevance in helminth immunity and allergy, eosinophils have been progressively attributed important roles in a number of homeostatic and pathologic situations. This review aims at summarizing available evidence about eosinophils functions in homeostasis, infections, allergic and autoimmune disorders, and solid and hematological cancers.Their structural and biological features have been described, along with their physiological behavior. This includes their chemokines, cytokines, granular contents, and extracellular traps. Besides, pathogenic- and eosinophilic-mediated disorders have also been addressed, with the aim of highlighting their role in Th2-driven inflammation. In allergy, eosinophils are implicated in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. They are also fundamentally involved in autoimmune disorders such as eosinophilic esophagitis, eosinophilic gastroenteritis, acute and chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis. In infections, eosinophils are involved in protection not only from parasites but also from fungi, viruses, and bacteria. In solid cancers, local eosinophilic infiltration is variably associated with an improved or worsened prognosis, depending on the histotype. In hematologic neoplasms, eosinophilia can be the consequence of a dysregulated cytokine production or the result of mutations affecting the myeloid lineage.Recent experimental evidence was thoroughly reviewed, with findings which elicit a complex role for eosinophils, in a tight balance between host defense and tissue damage. Eventually, emerging evidence about eosinophils in COVID-19 infection was also discussed.
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