Type I allergy is an immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated chronic disease. As such, disease diagnosis and identification of targeted allergens are primarily based on specific IgE reactivity. Over the past decades, the contribution of T cells in allergy pathogenesis has been extensively studied. T cells are not only significant for the onset and maintenance of allergic disease but likely also play a key role for the induction of tolerance by allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT). Due to the complexity of allergic T cell responses, epitopes have only been thoroughly mapped for the most dominant and prevalent allergens. Recently developed laboratory approaches enable us to perform thorough peptide screens, identifying T cell epitopes in known and novel allergenic targets, irrespective of their IgE reactivity. Monitoring allergen-specific T cells and their phenotype will provide insights into disease manifestation and progression on a molecular level.
Part of the book: Allergen