Childhood asthma and wheezing are very common, especially in those born preterm. Genetic and environmental factors are associated with developing asthma and wheezing. Respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus infections have been implicated in playing a causal role in the development of childhood asthma and wheezing, perhaps by altering the development of the immune system. Several subtypes of asthma and wheezing have been described which involve different mechanisms of pathophysiology. Much of the recent work in the field of asthma research has focused on describing unique aspects of these disease subtypes, which could lead to new drug targets. Alterations in CD4+ T cells have been described with alterations in the T helper 1, 2, 17 and regulatory cell balance could provide valuable targets for the development of new treatment strategies for the various subtypes of disease. This review article focuses on factors involved in childhood asthma and wheeze and potential drug targets.
Keywords: Asthma; CD4+ T cells; Lower respiratory tract infection; Preterm birth; Treatment strategies; Wheeze.