Asthma as a chronic disease of the innate and adaptive immune systems responding to viruses and allergens.
ABSTRACT Research on the pathogenesis of asthma has traditionally concentrated on environmental stimuli, genetic susceptibilities, adaptive immune responses, and end-organ alterations (particularly in airway mucous cells and smooth muscle) as critical steps leading to disease. The focus of this cascade has been the response to allergic stimuli. An alternative scheme suggests that respiratory viruses and the consequent response of the innate immune system also drives the development of asthma as well as related inflammatory diseases. This conceptual shift raises the possibility that sentinel cells such as airway epithelial cells, DCs, NKT cells, innate lymphoid cells, and macrophages also represent critical components of asthma pathogenesis as well as new targets for therapeutic discovery. A particular challenge will be to understand and balance the innate as well as the adaptive immune responses to defend the host against acute infection as well as chronic inflammatory disease.
Article: MicroRNAs in Allergy and Asthma.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: microRNAs (miRNAs) are short, single-stranded RNA molecules that function together with the partner proteins and cause degradation of target mRNAs or inhibit their translation. A particular miRNA can have hundreds of targets; therefore, miRNAs cumulatively influence the expression of a large proportion of genes. The functions of miRNAs in human diseases have been studied since their discovery in mammalian cells approximately 12 years ago. However, the role of miRNAs in allergic disease has only very recently begun to be uncovered. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the functions of miRNAs involved in the development of allergic diseases. We describe here the functions of miRNAs that regulate Th2 polarization and influence general inflammatory and tissue responses. In addition, we will highlight findings about the functions of extracellular miRNAs as possible noninvasive biomarkers of diseases with heterogeneous phenotypes and complex mechanisms and briefly discuss advances in the development of miRNA-based therapeutics.Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 04/2014; 14(4):424. · 2.75 Impact Factor
Article: Response to Letter to the Editor.Respiratory medicine 03/2014; · 2.33 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Bacterial and viral infections occur early and recurrently in life and thereby impose a substantial disease burden. Besides causing clinical symptoms, a potential role of infection in the development of the asthma syndrome later in life has also been suggested. However, whether bacterial and viral infections unmask host factors in children at risk of asthma or whether they directly cause asthma remains unclear; both viewpoints could be justified, but the underlying mechanisms are complex and poorly understood. Recently, the role of the bacterial microbiome has been emphasised. But data are still sparse and future studies are needed for definitive conclusions to be made. In this Review, we discuss present knowledge of viruses and bacteria that infect and colonise the respiratory tract and mucosal surfaces, including their timepoint of action, host factors related to infection, and their effect on childhood asthma. Childhood asthma could be the result of a combination of altered host susceptibility and infectious agents.The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 11/2013; 1(9):743-54.