Eosinophils contain in their granules eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and other basic proteins that have been implicated in immunity to parasites and pathophysiology of chronic allergic responses. In a model of eosinophil degranulation, we show that eosinophils release ECP upon short-term GM-CSF priming and stimulation with either platelet-activating factor (PAF) or the anaphylatoxin C5a, but not eotaxin. Restimulation with the same agonist (PAF or C5a) was unsuccessful as assessed by monitoring intracellular calcium concentration and ECP release. In contrast, upon an intermediate washing step, eosinophils rapidly transduced PAF and C5a signals followed by significant ECP releases. Ligand-binding studies demonstrated that only a proportion of PAF receptors is internalized upon cell stimulation and that washing of the cells removes the agonist from the cell surface. Upon repetitive stimulation, eosinophils with less than 50% of the original ECP content were obtained. Such eosinophils did not increase cellular ECP levels even in the presence of tile eosinophil survival factor GM-CSF in overnight cultures. In vivo studies revealed that eosinophils always express detectable amounts of ECP under chronic inflammatory conditions. In conclusion, we have shown that eosinophils maintain their capacity to degranulate upon repetitive stimulation with the same agonist as long as the receptor is not occupied from a previous stimulation. The cellular content of ECP appears to be a no limiting factor in the case of repetitive stimulation, implying that mature eosinophils may not require a significant ECP resynthesis.