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5.  Allergy, Asthma, and Inflammation: Which Inflammatory Cell Type Is More Important? 
A recent review in Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology suggested that eosinophils play a minor role, if any, in the inflammatory spectrum of asthma and allergic inflammation. The article that dealt with mast cells suggested that the presence of these important cells within the smooth muscle layer in asthmatic airways renders this cell type primal in asthma and an obvious and important target for therapy. This article proposes that in a complex inflammatory milieu characterizing the complex syndromes we call asthma, no single cell phenotype is responsible for the condition and thus should be a sole target for therapeutic strategies. Our reductionist approach to research in asthma and related conditions has provided us with convincing evidence for multiple roles that immune, inflammatory, and structural cell types can play in complex diseases. The next stage in understanding and ameliorating these complex conditions is to move away from the simplistic notion of one cell type being more important than another. Instead, what is needed is to acquire knowledge of intricate and exquisite biological systems that regulate such conditions in both health and disease involving various cell types, mediators, pharmacologically active products, their multifaceted capacities, and their socio-biological networking.
PMCID: PMC2868889  PMID: 20525138
Eosinophil; Mast cell; Th2; smooth muscle cell; mucosal immunity; eosinophilic bronchitis

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