The Cytokines of Asthma
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease associated with type 2 cytokines interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and IL-13, which promote airway eosinophilia, mucus overproduction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), and immunogloubulin E (IgE) synthesis. However, only half of asthma patients exhibit signs of an exacerbated Type 2 response. “Type 2-low” asthma has different immune features: airway neutrophilia, obesity-related systemic inflammation, or in some cases, few signs of immune activation. Here, we review the cytokine networks driving asthma, placing these in cellular context and incorporating insights from cytokine-targeting therapies in the clinic. We discuss established and emerging paradigms in the context of the growing appreciation of disease heterogeneity and argue that the development of new and improved therapeutics will require understanding the diverse mechanisms underlying the spectrum of asthma pathologies.