Asthma - T Cell Immunity

Allergen exposure triggers a cascade of molecular and cellular events that lead to the clinical phenotype of asthma. The allergic inflammatory response depends on a myriad of specific molecular messengers, among them cytokines, chemokines and proteases. Data also implicate CD4 effector T helper-2 (Th2) cells as essential promoters of allergic inflammation and CD4 T regulatory (Treg) cells as potent suppressors of such responses. CpG sequences and other innate immune system agonists also appear to play key roles in the control of acute and chronic responses to allergens, and have therefore potential uses as therapeutic agents. Previous analyses of the inflammatory response in mouse models have been largely carried out with in vitro and ex vivo models. While undoubtedly useful, some of these approaches may not always predict the ultimate in vivo behavior of immune cells in complex environments. Given the recent introduction of novel in vivo imaging techniques, it should be possible to apply them to unresolved issues in asthma research and management. The research projects are focused on developing and validating novel imaging approaches to identify key molecular and cellular events in experimental airway inflammation. The discovery effort will utilize a number of agents and approaches pioneered at CMIR, including amplifiable "smart" enzyme sensing probes, novel cell trackers based on fluorescent nanomaterials, fiber optical detection technology, optical tomography and nuclear imaging techniques. The research is aimed to obtain a signature pattern of the unfolding of molecular and cellular activities to uncover events in asthma in vivo, ultimately allowing for clinical translation.

Asthma

Inflammation and T cell immune response in asthma).