Clinical definitions of asthma fail to capture the heterogeneity of immune dysfunction in severe, treatment-refractory disease. Applying mass cytometry and machine learning to bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells, we find that corticosteroid-resistant asthma patients cluster largely into two groups: one enriched in interleukin (IL)-4+ innate immune cells and another dominated by interferon (IFN)-gamma+ Tcells, including tissue-resident memory cells. In contrast, BAL cells of a healthier population are enriched in IL-10+ macrophages. To better understand cellular mediators of severe asthma, we developed the Immune Cell Linkage through Exploratory Matrices (ICLite) algorithm to perform deconvolution of bulk RNA sequencing of mixed-cell populations. Signatures of mitosis and IL-7 signaling in CD206-FcepsilonRI+CD127+IL-4+ innate cells in one patient group, contrasting with adaptive immune response in Tcells in the other, are preserved across technologies. Transcriptional signatures uncovered by ICLite identify T-cell-high and T-cell-poor severe asthma patients in an independent cohort, suggesting broad applicability of our findings.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108974
View details for PubMedID 33852838