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Summary

Asthma is a common immune-mediated disorder characterized by reversible airway inflammation, mucus production, and variable airflow obstruction with airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR). In most cases the airway inflammation characteristic of asthma is thought to result from an allergic-type reaction to an inhaled substance from the environment (so-called allergic asthma). In allergic asthma, allergen exposure stimulates eosinophilic inflammation of the airways associated with infiltration of T cells. Although the recruitment of eosinophils into the airways is an important component in the pathogenesis of asthma, the trafficking of T lymphocytes into the airways is now believed to establish and orchestrate the asthmatic inflammatory response. This review explores the roles of various T cell subsets in the pathogenesis of allergic airway inflammation and highlights the contributions of these cells in regulating asthma.