Severe allergic asthma (SAA) is based on type 2 (T2-high) immune responses to allergens promoting type 2 T helper (Th2) cell cytokine responses and production of IgE antibodies. Omalizumab was the first biological drug licensed for clinical use in the management of IgE-mediated SAA. Despite emerging evidence supporting the prominent role of follicular T cells (Tfh), Breg and Treg subsets, in the development and progression of SAA, no data are available on the impact of omalizumab therapy.
Ten SAA patients monitored at the Respiratory Diseases Unit of Siena University Hospital and ten healthy sex- and age-matched controls were enrolled in the study. Clinical and functional parameters were collected at baseline (T0) and after 6 months of therapy (T6). Cellular population analysis was determined through multicolour flow cytometry.
SAA patients showed higher percentages of Th17.1, Tfh and Tfh2 while CD24CD27 Breg cell, Treg and Tfr percentages were significantly lower than in controls. Higher percentages of Tfh2 in patients with nasal polyps than in those without and in controls were observed. At T6, significant decreases in Tfh and Tfh2 compared with T0 were observed. A slightly significant increase in Teffs was reported at T6 compared to T0. ΔIgE levels in serum were correlated with ΔCD19CD24CD27 Breg cell percentages (r = – 0.86, p = 0.0022).
Our data explored the changes in Tfh cells, Tregs and Bregs in severe asthma. The restoration of immunological imbalance in SAA patients after omalizumab is certainly intriguing and represents a glimpse into the comprehension of immunological effects of treatment.

© 2021. The Author(s).