, Volume 53, Issue 1-3, pp 213-228
Date: 24 Mar 2012

Cross-roads in the lung: immune cells and tissue interactions as determinants of allergic asthma

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Allergic asthma is a chronic disease of the lung characterized by underlying Th2- and IgE-mediated inflammation, structural alterations of the bronchial wall, and airway hyperresponsiveness. Initial allergic sensitization and later development of chronic disease are determined by close interactions between lung structural cells and the resident and migratory immune cells in the lung. Epithelial cells play a crucial role in allergic sensitization by directly influencing dendritic cells induction of tolerant or effector T cells and production of type 2 cytokines by innate immune cells. During chronic disease, the bronchial epithelium, stroma, and smooth muscle become structurally and functionally altered, contributing to the perpetuation of tissue remodeling. Thus, targeting tissue-driven pathology in addition to inflammation may increase the effectiveness of asthma treatment.

Lakshmi Ramakrishna and Victor Christoff de Vries contributed equally.