A small protein chemokine called CCL26 appears to be a potent regulator of the migration of asthmatic eosinophils, which are commonly observed in asthmatic airways, according to Canadian researchers.

Investigators used blood from healthy and asthmatic subjects to isolate eosinophils and measure their migration response to CCL26 in vitro. They also assessed patient response to other chemokines, finding that only CCL26 induced an amplified eosinophil migration of asthmatic eosinophils compared to healthy cells.

“The control of eosinophils is central to asthmatic diseases and the underlying mechanisms are prime targets for treatments for the debilitating and sometimes life-threatening symptoms of asthma and allergy,” said John Wherry, PhD, deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. “This report shows that CCL26 could be a novel drug target to regulate eosinophils in these diseases.”