The role of PTEN in allergic inflammation.Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, characterized by airway eosinophilia, goblet cell hyperplasia with mucus hyper-secretion, and hyper-responsiveness to inhaled allergens and to non-specific stimuli. Eosinophil accumulation and subsequent activation in bronchial tissues play critical roles in the pathophysiology of bronchial asthma. Many inflammatory mediators attract and activate eosinophils via signal transduction pathways involving an enzyme phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase). Studies using wortmannin, a specific inhibitor of PI3-kinase, have revealed the involvement of PI3-kinase in the biochemical transduction of activation signals generated by many inflammatory mediators in eosinophils. Wortmannin prevents the development of airway inflammation, either by inhibiting the eosinophil infiltration of bronchial tissues or their activation on arrival. Phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) is part of a complex signaling system that affects a variety of important cell functions. PTEN opposes the action of PI3-kinase by dephosphorylating the signaling lipid phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate. Recently we have demonstrated that PTEN expression is diminished in airway epithelial cells of antigen-sensitized and -challenged mice. Administration of PI3-kinase inhibitors or adenoviruses carrying PTEN complementary DNA remarkably reduces eosinophil levels and inflammation. One likely mechanism for this reduction is PTEN-mediated eosinophil degranulation and suppression of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5. These findings indicate that use of PTEN may be a good therapeutic strategy for the management of allergic inflammation.