Abstract There is considerable interest in the immunobiological processes through which the development of allergic sensitization to chemicals is initiated and orchestrated. One of the most intriguing issues is the basis for the elicitation by chemical sensitizers of different forms of allergic reaction; that is, allergic contact dermatitis or sensitization of the respiratory tract associated with occupational asthma. Studies in rodents have revealed that differential forms of allergic sensitization to chemicals are, in large part at least, a function of the selective development of discrete functional sub-populations of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-lymphocytes. Evidence for a similar association of chemical allergy in humans with discrete T-lymphocyte populations is, however, limited. It is of some interest, therefore, that two recent articles from different teams of investigators have shed new light on the role of polarized T-lymphocyte responses in the development of allergic contact dermatitis and occupational asthma in humans. The implications for understanding of chemical allergy in humans are explored in this Commentary.
Journal of Immunotoxicology, 2014, Vol 11, Issue 3, p. 203-204