Recruitment of circulating allergen-specific T lymphocytes to the lung on allergen challenge in asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Nov;100(5):669-78. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(97)70172-6.


Background: In allergic subjects with asthma, the migration of CD4+ T cells to the lungs in the hours after allergen exposure may contribute to allergic inflammation in the target organ.

Objective: We studied allergen-specific T cells from the peripheral blood and lungs of allergic subjects with asthma at baseline and after allergen challenge.

Methods: In each patient, blood samples were taken 10 minutes before and 24 hours after the inhalation of a major sensitizing allergen. In vitro proliferation of peripheral blood CD4+ T cells specific for the same allergen used in the in vivo challenge was assessed. In one patient two Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus-specific T-cell clones (TCCs) were derived from peripheral blood, and their T-cell receptors were sequenced to determine their clonotypic determinants on the beta chains. The T-cell receptor determinants of the allergen-specific TCCs were sought in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage samples taken from this patient.

Results: We found that allergen inhalation is followed by a decrement in the specific proliferation of peripheral CD4+ T cells to the same allergen used for bronchial provocation. In one patient the clonotypic determinants of two allergen-specific TCCs diminished in the peripheral blood, whereas they were simultaneously expanded in the lower respiratory tract.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that allergen-specific T cells are recruited from the peripheral blood to the bronchial lumen after allergen challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / pharmacology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Clone Cells
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Male
  • Mites
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / chemistry
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology


  • Allergens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta