Asthma is a complex disease caused by a poorly characterized set of genetic and environmental factors whose pathology is a result of immune dysregulation. Toll-like receptors are pathogen associated molecular pattern receptors expressed by many airway and pulmonary tissues as well as cells of the innate and adaptive immune system. Ligation of toll-like receptors can lead to a change in the expression levels of multiple inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators which are involved in the pathogenesis of asthma. These ligands and their receptors are therefore prime candidates in the search for immunotherapeutic treatments of asthma. The use of murine models of allergic asthma as tools for the genetic dissection of this disease should allow the molecular mechanisms underlying asthma to be identified and possibly used as further immunotherapeutic targets.
Keywords: Asthma, Airway hyperresponsiveness, atopy, Toll-like receptors, Recombinant congenic strains, Immunomodulation, Hygiene hypothesis, Genetic determinants
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