Respiratory Infection and the Impact of Pulmonary Immunity on Lung Health and Disease

The Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (Impact Factor: 11.04). 07/2012; 186(9). DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201206-1063PP
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Acute lower respiratory tract infection is responsible for an inordinate disease burden. Pulmonary immunity determines the outcomes of these infections. The innate and adaptive immune responses to microbes in the lung are critical to maintaining a healthy respiratory system and to preventing pulmonary disease. In addition to balancing antimicrobial defense against the risk of lung injury during the immediate infection, the shaping of pulmonary immunity by respiratory infection contributes to the pathophysiology of many and even perhaps most chronic pulmonary diseases. This Perspective aims to communicate 2 inter-connected points. First, tremendous morbidity and mortality result from inadequate, misguided, or excessive pulmonary immunity. Second, our understanding of pulmonary immunity is at an exciting stage of rapid developments and discoveries, but many questions remain. Further advances in pulmonary immunity and elucidation of the cellular and molecular responses to microbes in the lung are needed in order to develop novel approaches to predicting, preventing, and curing respiratory disease.

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