Atopic diseases are associated with hyperexpression of Th2 cytokines by allergen-specific T memory cells. However, clinical trials with recently developed Th2 inhibitors in atopics have proven disappointing, suggesting underlying complexities in atopy pathogenesis which are not satisfactorily explained via the classical Th1/Th2 paradigm. One likely possibility is that additional Th2-associated genes which are central to disease pathogenesis remain unidentified. The aim of the present study was to identify such novel Th2-associated genes in recall responses to the inhalant allergen house dust mite. In contrast to earlier human microarray studies in atopy which focused on mitogen-activated T cell lines and clones, we concentrated on PBMC-derived primary T cells stimulated under more physiological conditions of low dose allergen exposure. We screened initially for allergen-induced gene activation by microarray, and validated novel genes in independent panels of subjects by quantitative RT-PCR. Kinetic analysis of allergen responses in PBMC revealed an early wave of novel atopy-associated genes involved in signaling which were coexpressed with IL-4 and IL-4R, followed by a later wave of genes encoding the classical Th2 effector cytokines. We further demonstrate that these novel activation-associated Th2 genes up-regulate in response to another atopy-associated physiological stimulus bacterial superantigen, but remain quiescent in nonphysiological responses in primary T cells or cell lines driven by potent mitogens, which may account for their failure to be detected in earlier microarray studies.