Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal bacterium in the respiratory tract mucosa of most
people and infects the skin of atopic dermatitis patients. This might imply a symbiotic relationship
between host and bacterium or a standoff between bacterial infection and the host immune
system. But superantigens produced by S. aureus in these locations are of particular interest
because they are strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of allergic disorders and airway disease.
They appear to act locally in these conditions by stimulating polyclonal T cell and B cell
proliferation and driving somatic hypermutation, class switching to immunoglobulin (Ig) E and
the production of allergen-specific IgE in mucosal B cells. IgE antibodies directed against the
superantigens (‘superallergens’) themselves engender chronic inflammation and the persistent
sensitization to conventional allergens of mast cells and antigen-presenting cells in mucosal tissues
in atopic dermatitis, rhinitis and asthma. Moreover, S. aureus superantigens inhibit the
activity of T regulatory cells that normally control inflammation, and generate a state of steroid
resistance that confounds treatment of allergic disorders and airway disease.
Copyright / Drug Dosage
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