Memory discovered in the lungs: new causes of asthma and allergies

Memory discovered in the lungs: new causes of asthma and allergies

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How lung cells remember allergens for a lifetime

The lungs have specialized memory cells that remember inhaled allergens for a lifetime and react immediately to them. Researchers from Austria see this new finding as a possible reason why a large number of people with asthma and hay fever react lifelong and why the reactions increase when they come into contact with the allergens more frequently.

A recent study by the Medical University of Vienna identified so-called T-lymphocytes in the lungs as memory cells that remember inhaled allergens and react immediately to them when they are inhaled again. These special cells remain in the lung tissue for life and ensure that asthmatics suffer seizures. The researchers see in these cells the reason why an allergy often persists for life. The study results were recently presented in the specialist journal "Frontiers in Immunology".

Asthma and hay fever are very common

Around 70 to 100 million people in Europe suffer from asthma or allergic rhinitis. Inhaling allergens such as pollen from grass and trees immediately leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. The exact reasons why this violent reaction to per se harmless substances takes place are still largely unknown. Asthma and hay fever are also a health and social problem. The annual cost of lost work and the health care system in the EU is estimated at 55 to 151 billion euros.

No seizures without allergens

“Allergic asthma can be a chronic condition, but it often only occurs intermittently. For example, when people come into contact with allergens to whom they are sensitized, ”study director Michelle Epstein reports in a press release from the Medical University of Vienna. For example, seasonal asthma, which is caused by tree pollen, only leads to asthma attacks if the pollen is in the air and inhaled. At other times, those affected have no lung problems.

Why a lung never forgets anything

“Our study shows for the first time that T-lymphocytes (Th2-TRMs) remain in the lungs for more than 600 days and proves that immunological memory is induced after the first attack of allergic asthma and that memory T cells are preserved for life “Explains the allergy expert. The researchers found around 150,000 to 200,000 memory cells in the lungs, which are activated immediately when allergens are inhaled. The research team also found evidence that the number of memory cells increases when an allergy sufferer is often exposed to the allergens. This could possibly lead to a severe course of the allergy.

New therapy for asthma?

The researchers believe it is possible that a new therapy for asthma can emerge from these findings. To do this, you have to manipulate the memory cells of the lungs in a targeted manner. "But to do this, it is necessary to find a way that these cells can be selectively eliminated without affecting other memory T cells that protect us from bacteria and viruses," added co-author Sahar Kazemi.

Ozone exposure increases allergy symptoms
Another study recently found that high levels of ozone in the air can increase the symptoms of allergies and asthma. For more information, read: Ozone increases pollen allergy and asthma. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Allergies and Asthma (July 2022).


  1. Lamorak

    In my opinion, this is obvious. I will not talk about this topic.

  2. Augustus

    Well a little.

  3. Yogar

    I think, that anything serious.

  4. Dave

    Let's talk about this issue.

  5. Grolkis

    SUPER fairy tale!

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