To respond or not to respond: T cells in allergic asthma

Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 May;3(5):405-12. doi: 10.1038/nri1084.


The incidence of allergic asthma has almost doubled in the past two decades. Numerous epidemiological studies have linked the recent surge in atopic disease with decreased exposure to infections in early childhood as a result of a more westernized lifestyle. However, a clear mechanistic explanation for how this might occur is still lacking. An answer might lie in the presently unfolding story of various regulatory T-cell populations that can limit adaptive immune responses, including T helper 2 (T(H)2)-cell-mediated allergic airway disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Models, Immunological
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology