Mechanisms of allergy and asthma

Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 May 13;585(2-3):354-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.02.094. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Allergies are the result of an inappropriate reaction against innocuous environmental proteins. The prevalence and severity of allergic diseases has increased dramatically during the last decade in developed countries. Allergen-specific T helper (Th) cells play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of allergic hypersensitivity reactions. These Th cells activate a complex immune reaction that triggers the release of potent mediators and enhances the recruitment of inflammatory cells, which in turn elicit an inflammatory response that leads to the clinical symptoms of allergic disease. The current therapies for allergic diseases focus primarily on control of symptoms and suppression of inflammation, without affecting the underlying cause. However, the knowledge about the pathophysiology of allergic diseases has substantially increased, offering new opportunities for therapeutic intervention. In this review, we will focus on current insights into the mechanism of allergic reactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mast Cells / physiology


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipids