Superantigens and Allergic Disease

  • Mark S. Schubert
Part of the Allergy Frontiers book series (ALLERGY, volume 2)

We are still in the early phases of a new era of investigation into the immunopathogenesis and treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases. Understanding of the interfaces between microbes and chronic inflammatory diseases promises to be a fruitful avenue for continued investigation. Since the landmark discovery of the superantigen concept in 1989 [1], our understanding of the potential biological roles of superantigens has expanded from acute intoxication into chronic inflammation, including a possible role in autoimmune diseases. Multiple lines of evidence now support a central role for S. aureus superantigens in the immunopathogenesis of AD since the initial observations were made in 1993 [58, 61]. Since the seminal work in 2001 identifying S. aureus superantigens as likely operatives in CRS [84], S. aureus has continued to be the primary choice for superantigen research in CRS, asthma, and AD. However, as predicted in the “superantigen hypothesis” published in 2001 [7], not only S. aureus, but additional microbes with superantigenic potential will likely be a focus of future investigations into the immunopathogenesis of chronic inflammatory respiratory tract diseases, as well as other chronic inflammatory diseases, including a possible role for the intriguing human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). Armed with a better understanding of their immunopathogenesis, all of these potentially interrelated inflammatory diseases should ultimately be curable.


Atopic Dermatitis Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Allergy Clin Immunol Nasal Polyp Atopic Dermatitis Patient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark S. Schubert
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of Arizona College of MedicinePhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Allergy Asthma Clinic, Ltd.PhoenixUSA

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