Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of AthensAcademy Of Athens
Research Highlights :Plasmacytoid dendritic cells drive acute asthma exacerbations


Evangelos Andreakos and colleagues recently published a study in JACI.

Acute exacerbations, mostly triggered by viruses, account for the majority of hospitalizations, morbidity and mortality from asthma, yet the pathophysiologic mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. Evangelos Andreakos and colleagues now reveal in a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), specialized cells mediating antiviral functions, are critically involved in this process. 

Using animal models of allergic airway disease (AAD) and virus-induced AAD exacerbations, and samples from asthmatic patients, the authors demonstrate that pDCs are recruited to the lung during acute exacerbations and drive TH2-mediated effector responses and disease. Central to this process is IL-25, which is induced by viral infection or allergen challenge and acts on pDCs to condition them for proinflammatory activation. Notably, in patients pDC numbers during stable disease predict the likelihood/frequency for asthma exacerbations in the future. 

These studies therefore uncover a previously unsuspected role of pDCs in asthma exacerbations with important diagnostic and prognostic implications. They also propose the therapeutic targeting of pDCs and IL-25 for the treatment of acute asthma.


Chairakaki AD, Saridaki MI, Pyrillou K, Mouratis MA, Koltsida O, Walton RP, Bartlett NW, Stavropoulos A, Boon L, Rovina N, Papadopoulos NG, Johnston SL, Andreakos E.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells drive acute asthma exacerbations. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Aug;142(2):542-556.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.08.032. Epub 2017 Oct 17.