Reassessing the Th2 cytokine basis of asthma

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2004 May;25(5):244-8. doi: 10.1016/


T helper (Th) 2 cytokines, particularly interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-5 and IL-13, might be important in the development of allergic asthma. Humanized monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) against IL-5, and a recombinant soluble human IL-4 receptor have been developed as possible treatments for this disorder. However, these approaches have not yet proven to be successful in the treatment of persistent asthma, suggesting that neither IL-4 nor IL-5 is important in asthma pathogenesis. Indeed, there is insufficient information about the efficacy of soluble IL-4 receptor and the anti-IL-5 hMAbs in the treatment of asthma to draw firm conclusions about the importance of these Th2 cytokines. Nevertheless, because IL-4 is required for IgE production and IL-5 is required for eosinophilopoesis, these Th2 cytokines must remain important candidates for a role in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma* / classification
  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Asthma* / etiology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-5 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects
  • Th2 Cells / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-4