Purpose of review: Allergic asthma reflects the interplay between inflammatory mediators and immune, airway epithelial, and other cells. This review summarizes key insights in these areas over the past year.
Recent findings: Key findings over the past year demonstrate that epithelial cells mediate tight junction breakdown to facilitate the development of asthma-like disease in mice. Innate lymph lymphoid cells (ILC), while previously shown to promote allergic airway disease, have now been shown to inhibit the development of severe allergic disease in mice. Fibrinogen cleavage products (previously shown to mediate allergic airway disease and macrophage fungistatic immunity by signaling through Toll-like receptor 4) have now been shown to first bind to the integrin Mac-1 (CD11c/CD18). Therapeutically, recent discoveries include the development of the antiasthma drug PM-43I that inhibits the allergy-related transcription factors STAT5 and STAT6 in mice, and confirmatory evidence of the efficacy of the antifungal agent voriconazole in human asthma.
Summary: Studies over the past year provide critical new insight into the mechanisms by which epithelial cells, ILC, and coagulation factors contribute to the expression of asthma-like disease and further support the development antiasthma drugs that block STAT factors and inhibit fungal growth in the airways.