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Adhesive Interactions in Allergy and Asthma

Adhesive interactions play an important role during the immune response to inhaled allergens. Primarily adhesion molecules are responsible for the recruitment patterns of specific effector cell subsets. Migration of neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils, are critical components of the late phase asthmatic reaction. E-Cadherin is an adhesion molecule which is important for maintaining epithelial integrity, a function that is dependent on intercellular interaction. E-Cadherin is also though to contribute to the recruitment of Helper T cells during allergic asthma.

Integrins represent a large family of adhesion molecules involved in the allergic response. Integrins are transmembrane proteins that mediate interactions between adhesion molecules on adjacent cells and/or the extracellular matrix (ECM). They exist as heterodimers consisting of alpha and beta subunits. Some alpha and beta subunits exhibit specificity for one another, and heterodimers often preferentially bind certain cell adhesion molecules, or constituents of the ECM. Although they themselves have no catalytic activity, integrins can be part of multimolecular signaling complexes known as focal adhesions.