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Fundamental research

30 - 11 - 2017

Allergic asthma: a complex immune and hormonal mechanism to be decoded

From patient studies and mouse research, a North American team has advanced the understanding of the role of sex hormones in allergic asthma.


Allergic asthma is an illness that affects twice as many women than men.


In May, an Inserm, IGBMC, University Toulouse III, and CNRS team showed that testosterone inhibited the proliferation of ILC2 immune cells which play a central role in the development of asthma, using in vitro models and a mouse model of dust mite allergy.



This week a team from the University of Vanderbilt in the USA confirmed that in patients with allergic asthma, ILC2 cells were more numerous in women than in men


Furthering the research in mouse models, they showed that:

- Sex hormones act on the number and activity of ILC2 via interleukin 2 or IL2

- Testosterone decreases the expression of IL-33 and TSLP, stimulants of the ILC2.


Other studies have shown that estrogen increases mucus production in the airways.


Understanding how sex hormones work in allergic asthma takes time, but it's a necessary step to develop new treatment strategies for this disease.