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Open Access Reviews

Interleukin-13 Signaling and Its Role in Asthma

Efren L Rael1* and Richard F Lockey2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center MCH0401, Hershey, PA

2 University Distinguished Health Professor, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics & Public Health; Director, Division of Allergy & Immunology, Joy McCann Culverhouse Chair in Allergy & Immunology; World Allergy Organization President; University of South Florida College of Medicine University of South Florida; James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Department of A/I (111D), Tampa, FL

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World Allergy Organization Journal 2011, 4:54-64  doi:10.1097/WOX.0b013e31821188e0

Published: 15 March 2011

Abstract

Asthma affects nearly 300 million people worldwide. The majority respond to inhaled corticosteroid treatment with or without beta-adrenergic agonists. However, a subset of 5 to 10% with severe asthma do not respond optimally to these medications. Different phenotypes of asthma may explain why current therapies show limited benefits in subgroups of patients. Interleukin-13 is implicated as a central regulator in IgE synthesis, mucus hypersecretion, airway hyperresponsiveness, and fibrosis. Promising research suggests that the interleukin-13 pathway may be an important target in the treatment of the different asthma phenotypes.

Keywords:
interleukin-13; asthma; airway hyper-reactivity; fibrosis; single nucleotide polymorphism