Dendritic Cells, Alternaria and Dysregulated th2 Immune Responses in Asthma
Several animal disease models have also been developed recently to dissect the immunological mechanisms of chronic airway inflammation and to manipulate the immune system as a potential therapeutic approach for patients. We are preparing to report on recent experiments in research mice exposed in a laboratory environment to Alternaria or other fungi. The mice exposed to Alternaria showed distinctive and surprising responses after only 3 hours that may provide biochemical clues to explain the involvement of innate immunity (i.e., immunity that animals have naturally from birth) in particular the role of dendritic cells. We are also studying whether manipulation of dendritic cell function by antibody to a cell surface molecule (anti-B7-DC) would be able to prevent allergic-type inflammation. These studies are using modern, state of the art, genomics technologies to probe the immunological changes in the lungs of mice and ultimately provide insights for human diseases.