The recent molecular cloning of the complementary DNA encoding T cell--replacing factor (TRF) has demonstrated that a single molecule is responsible for B cell growth factor II (BCGF-II) activity and eosinophil differentiation activity. It has been proposed that this molecule be called interleukin 5 (IL-5). We previously reported that purified rIL-5 supports the terminal differentiation and proliferation of eosinophilic precursors. In this study, we examined the effects of IL-5 on functional activities of mature eosinophils. IL-5 maintained the viability of mature eosinophils obtained from peritoneal exudate cells of mice infected with parasites. It also induced superoxide anion production in a dose-dependent manner. The Boyden's chamber Millipore assay revealed that IL-5 had a marked chemokinetic effect on eosinophils in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, IL-5 was found to be an eosinophil chemotactic factor by the checkerboard assay. In conclusion, IL-5 is suggested to play an important role in increasing the functional activities of eosinophils as well as their production in allergic and parasitic diseases.