Clinical implications of CD4+ T cell subsets in adult atopic asthma patients

Matthew Wiest, Katherine Upchurch, Wenjie Yin, Jerome Ellis, Yaming Xue, Bobby Lanier, Mark Millard, Hye Mee Joo, Sang Kon Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: T cells play a central role in chronic inflammation in asthma. However, the roles of individual subsets of T cells in the pathology of asthma in patients remain to be better understood. Methods: We investigated the potential signatures of T cell subset phenotypes in asthma using fresh whole blood from adult atopic asthma patients (n=43) and non-asthmatic control subjects (n=22). We further assessed their potential clinical implications by correlating asthma severity. Results: We report four major features of CD4+ T cells in the blood of atopic asthma patients. First, patients had a profound increase of CCR7+ memory CD4+ T cells, but not CCR7- memory CD4+ T cells. Second, an increase in CCR4+ CD4+ T cells in patients was mainly attributed to the increase of CCR7+ memory CD4+ T cells. Accordingly, the frequency of CCR4+CCR7+ memory CD4+ T cells correlated with asthma severity. Current common asthma therapeutics (including corticosteroids) were not able to affect the frequency of CCR4+CCR7+ memory CD4+ T cell subsets. Third, patients had an increase of Tregs, as assessed by measuring CD25, Foxp3, IL-10 and CTLA-4 expression. However, asthma severity was inversely correlated only with the frequency of CTLA-4+ CD4+ T cells. Lastly, patients and control subjects have similar frequencies of CD4+ T cells that express CCR5, CCR6, CXCR3, CXCR5, CD11a, or α4 integrin. However, the frequency of α4+ CD4+ T cells in patients correlated with asthma severity. Conclusions: CCR4+CCR7+ memory, but not CCR4+CCR7- memory, α4+, and CTLA4+ CD4+ T cells in patients show significant clinical implications in atopic asthma. Current common therapeutics cannot alter the frequency of such CD4+ T cell subsets in adult atopic asthma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalAllergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018


  • Alpha 4
  • Asthma
  • Atopic
  • CCR4
  • CCR7
  • CD4 T cell
  • CTLA-4
  • Corticosteroid
  • Integrin
  • Therapy
  • β-Agonist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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