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Laboratory of Allergic Diseases

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Calman Prussin, M.D.

Photo of Calman Prussin, M.D.

Staff Clinician, Mast Cell Biology Section, LAD
Associate Program Director, Allergy and Immunology Clinical Training Program

Major Areas of Research

  • Th2 gene regulation and Th2 cell differentiation
  • Food allergy pathogenesis and treatment
  • Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease pathogenesis and treatment
  • Immunological therapy of allergic diseases

Program Description

Delayed differentiation of IL-5+ Th2 cells
Delayed differentiation of IL-5+ Th2 cells (red), Upadhyaya et al., 2011.

IgE-mediated immediate hypersensitivity and eosinophilic inflammation are the two major pathological processes that underlie allergic disease. Th2 cells and their signature cytokines, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, are necessary for both IgE and eosinophilia. Thus, understanding Th2 cell biology is of paramount importance in developing new treatments for allergic diseases. The major focus of our work is establishing the concept of Th2 cell heterogeneity: that distinct Th2 subpopulations exist, and these subsets have specific effector functions and roles in allergic disease pathogenesis. Current projects are aimed at characterizing the cellular and molecular biology of these Th2 subpopulations and their roles in allergic disease pathogenesis.

We utilize anaphylactic food allergy and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs) as allergic disease paradigms that are respectively IgE- and eosinophil-dominated-, and as such provide a unique insight into these two fundamental allergic processes. Current translational studies are focused on characterizing the role of food allergen-specific T cells in alternatively driving IgE-dominant versus eosinophil-dominant immunopathology. Prior work from our lab demonstrates that EGIDs are associated with a unique population of IL-5+ Th2 cells that are not found in conventional anaphylactic food allergy. Recent work has further characterized these IL-5+ Th2 cells as highly differentiated Th2 cells. Current work is focused on understanding the function of these IL-5+ Th2 cells and their contribution to allergic disease pathogenesis.

chart showing reactions to food allergens
Proposed mechanism for the generation of IL-5+ TH2 cells in EGID.


Dr. Prussin received his M.D. at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency at Los Angeles County–USC Medical Center. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology at NIAID, he completed his allergy and immunology clinical fellowship at NIH (1991–1995). In 1996, Dr. Prussin joined the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases as head of the Clinical Allergy Unit. From 2000 to 2007, Dr. Prussin was the associate director of the NIH Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Training Program. In 2007, Dr. Prussin was named chief of the Lymphocyte Biology Unit. Dr. Prussin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and a member of the International Eosinophil Society and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Association.

Selected Publications

Upadhyaya B, Yin Y, Hill BJ, Douek DC, Prussin C. Hierarchical IL-5 expression defines a subpopulation of highly differentiated human Th2 cells. J Immunol. 2011 Sep 15;187(6):3111-20.

Prussin C, Yin Y, Upadhyaya B. Th2 heterogeneity: Does function follow form? J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Dec;126(6):1094-8.

Prussin C, Lee J, Foster B. Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease and peanut allergy are alternatively associated with IL-5+ and IL-5- T(H)2 responses. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Dec;124(6):1326-32.

Foroughi S, Foster B, Kim N, Bernardino LB, Scott LM, Hamilton RG, Metcalfe DD, Mannon PJ, Prussin C. Anti-IgE treatment of eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorders. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Sep;120(3):594-601.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

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Last Updated February 13, 2013