Functions of T cells in asthma: more than just T(H)2 cells

Nat Rev Immunol. 2010 Dec;10(12):838-48. doi: 10.1038/nri2870. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


Asthma has been considered a T helper 2 (T(H)2) cell-associated inflammatory disease, and T(H)2-type cytokines, such as interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5 and IL-13, are thought to drive the disease pathology in patients. Although atopic asthma has a substantial T(H)2 cell component, the disease is notoriously heterogeneous, and recent evidence has suggested that other T cells also contribute to the development of asthma. Here, we discuss the roles of different T cell subsets in the allergic lung, consider how each subset can contribute to the development of allergic pathology and evaluate how we might manipulate these cells for new asthma therapies.

Trial registration: NCT00707811 NCT00712205 NCT00968669.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Interleukin-5 / immunology
  • Lung / immunology
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-4

Associated data