Staphylococcus aureus is a common human pathogen, which is regularly part of the normal microflora found in the nose and skin. It represents a significant threat to human health, not in the least because of its capability to produce exotoxins, which have superantigenic properties. These exotoxins, in particular the staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs), are known to be involved in the modulation and aggravation of airway inflammation. Indeed, recent studies show an important impact of SEs on the natural course of allergic rhinitis, nasal polyposis, asthma and COPD. This review outlines the current knowledge on the influence of SEs on airway inflammation. We highlight, in particular, the recent evidence on their role in asthma.

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