The Multifaceted Role of T-Helper Responses in Host Defense against Aspergillus fumigatus.
The ubiquitous opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus rarely causes infections in immunocompetent individuals. A healthy functional innate immune system plays a crucial role in preventing Aspergillus-infection. This pivotal role for the innate immune system makes it a main research focus in studying the pathogenesis of aspergillosis. Although sometimes overshadowed by the innate immune response, the adaptive immune response, and in particular T-helper responses, also represents a key player in host defense against Aspergillus. Virtually all T-helper subsets have been described to play a role during aspergillosis, with the Th1 response being crucial for fungal clearance. However; morbidity and mortality of aspergillosis can also be partly attributed to detrimental immune responses resulting from adaptive immune activation. Th2 responses benefit fungal persistence; and are the foundation of allergic forms of aspergillosis. The Th17 response has two sides; although crucial for granulocyte recruitment, it can be involved in detrimental immunopathology. Regulatory T-cells, the endogenous regulators of inflammatory responses, play a key role in controlling detrimental inflammatory responses during aspergillosis. The current knowledge of the adaptive immune response against A. fumigatus is summarized in this review. A better understanding on how T-helper responses facilitate clearance of Aspergillus-infection and control inflammation can be the fundamental basis for understanding the pathogenesis of aspergillosis and for the development of novel host-directed therapies.