Molecules and Cells

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 173–183

Innate immune responses of the airway epithelium


DOI: 10.1007/s10059-010-0146-4

Cite this article as:
Ryu, JH., Kim, CH. & Yoon, JH. Mol Cells (2010) 30: 173. doi:10.1007/s10059-010-0146-4


Barrier epithelia, especially airway epithelial cells, are persistently exposed to micro-organisms and environmental factors. To protect the host from these microbial challenges, many immune strategies have evolved. The airway epithelium participates in the critical innate immune response through the secretion of immune effectors such as mucin, antimicrobial peptides (AMP), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) to entrap or kill invading microbes. In addition, airway epithelial cells can act as mediators connecting innate and adaptive immunity by producing various cytokines and chemokines. Here, we present an overview of the role of mucosal immunity in airway epithelium, emphasizing the framework of bacterial and viral infections along with regulatory mechanisms of immune effectors in human cells and selected animal models. We also describe pathophysiological roles for immune effectors in human airway disease.


airway epitheliumantimicrobial peptidesinnate immune responsesMucinpattern recognition receptorreactive oxygen speciesrespiratory viruses

Copyright information

© The Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology and Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji-Hwan Ryu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chang-Hoon Kim
    • 3
    • 4
  • Joo-Heon Yoon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Research Center for Human Natural Defense SystemYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  2. 2.The Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical ScienceYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  4. 4.The Airway Mucus InstituteYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulKorea