Grass allergen-specific T-cells of atopic patients: Review article
The prevalence of atopic diseases has increased dramatically in the Western world over the last 20 years. Further insight into the mechanisms of the allergic reaction may help in the development of new more efficient protocols for the specific treatment of allergic diseases. Until a decade ago the major focus in allergy research was on the IgE reactivity of atopic patients and the description of major allergens responsible for the allergic reactions. More recently, the important role of CD4+ T-cells in orchestrating the production of IgE and the maturation of eosinophils through the production of IL-4 (or IL-13) and IL-5 has been clearly established. This has led to the characterization of T-cell responsiveness to numerous major allergens, demonstrating the importance of T-cells for the allergic response of atopic patients and for the specific treatment of allergic diseases. One of the major objectives of allergy research is the development of improved treatment protocols for specific therapy. In this review our results on the T-cell reactivity of grass allergic patients to the group 5 major allergen of the grass Phleum pratense (Phl p 5) are discussed in relation to the literature on allergen-specific T-cell reactivity and the specific treatment of allergic disease. Our investigations focused on three subjects: 1) Grass allergen-specific T-cell reactivity of atopic patients in freshly isolated PBMC cultures, 2) Phl p 5 isoallergen recognition of T-cell lines (TCL) and clones (TCC) established from PBMC of grass allergic patients, and 3) Identification of T-cell epitopes on Phl p 5.