Allergen-Specific CD4+ T Cells in Human Asthma

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Abstract

In allergic asthma, aeroallergen exposure of sensitized individuals mobilizes robust innate and adaptive airway immune responses, stimulating eosinophilic airway inflammation and the activation and infiltration of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells into the airways. Allergen-specific CD4+ T cells are thought to be central players in the asthmatic response as they specifically recognize the allergen and initiate and orchestrate the asthmatic inflammatory response. In this article, we briefly review the role of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells in the pathogenesis of human allergic airway inflammation in allergic individuals, discuss the use of allergen-major histocompatibility complex class II tetramers to characterize allergen-specific CD4+ T cells, and highlight current gaps in knowledge and directions for future research pertaining to the role of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells in human asthma.

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