We have developed a transgenic mouse line, NJ.1638, which expresses high levels of IL-5 from T cells, with profound hematological consequences. Eosinophils comprise more than 60% of circulating white blood cells in these animals, with the total peripheral white blood cell counts increasing more than 40-fold relative to wild-type littermates. This extraordinary proliferative capacity is sustained by expanded sites of extramedullary hematopoiesis and is accompanied by multifocal, ectopic bone formation in the spleen. Histology of the splenic nodules revealed the presence of osteoid matrices and osteocytes trapped within mineralized trabecular plates. In addition, polarized light microscopy of calcified tissue sections revealed both woven bone and areas of organized lamellar bone. Morphometric assessments demonstrated that both the growth and mineralization of splenic bone occurred at rates nearly an order of magnitude higher than in skeletal bone. Skeletal bone metabolic parameters were also perturbed. We also observed heterotopic ossification of the spleen and perturbation of skeletal bone homeostasis following adoptive engraftment of transgenic marrow to wild-type recipients. These data suggest that IL-5 overexpression mediates bone formation through the mobilization of marrow-derived osteogenic progenitors and/or the inhibition of recruited osteoclasts.
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