Damage-associated molecular patterns and their receptors in upper airway pathologies
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- Van Crombruggen, K., Jacob, F., Zhang, N. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2013) 70: 4307. doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1356-7
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Inflammation of the nasal (rhinitis) and sinus mucosa (sinusitis) are prevalent medical conditions of the upper airways that are concurrent in many patients; hence the terminology “rhinosinusitis”. The disease status is further defined to be “chronic” in case symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks without resolution. A diverse spectrum of external factors including viral and bacterial insults together with epithelial barrier malfunctions could be implicated in the chronicity of the inflammatory responses in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). However, despite massive research efforts in an attempt to unveil the pathophysiology, the exact reason for a lack of resolution still remains poorly understood. A novel set of molecules that could be implicated in sustaining the inflammatory reaction may be found within the host itself. Indeed, besides mediators of inflammation originating from outside, some endogenous intracellular and/or extracellular matrix (ECM) components from the host can be released into the extracellular space upon damage induced during the initial inflammatory reaction where they gain functions distinct from those during normal physiology. These “host-self” molecules are known to modulate inflammatory responses under pathological conditions, potentially preventing resolution and contributing to the development of chronic inflammation. These molecules are collectively classified as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding DAMPs in upper airway pathologies, also covering those that were previously investigated for their intracellular and/or ECM functions often acting as an antimicrobial agent or implicated in tissue/cell homeostasis, and for which their function as a danger signaling molecule was not assessed. It is, however, of importance to assess these molecules again from a point of view as a DAMP in order to further unravel the pathogenesis of CRS.