Cytokines as Mediators of Lung Innate Immunity

  • T. J. Standiford
  • B. Merhad
  • W. C. Tsai
Part of the Update in Intensive Care Medicine book series (volume 31)


The emergence of multi-drug resistant microbes in the immunocompromised host has made the treatment of bacterial, fungal, and mycobacterial infections of the lung increasingly difficult [1, 2, 3]. This rather ominous trend underscores the need to better understand the immune host response in order to develop immunotherapies directed at these responses. Effective host defense against common bacterial pathogens of the respiratory tract is primarily dependent upon the rapid clearance of the etiologic agent from the lung [4, 5]. Innate, or natural immunity, is the principal pathway for effective elimination of bacterial organisms that have reached the alveolus. The three principal phagocytic cells that constitute innateimmunity in the lung include resident alveolar macrophages, recruited neutrophils, and mononuclear phagocytes. In addition, these cells, as well as resident T cells (particularly γδ-T cells) and natural killer (NK) cells, participate in innate immune responses in the lung via the elaboration of important activating and/or chemotactic cytokines. In contrast to bacterial infection, host responses to intracellular bacteria, fungi, mycobacterium and viruses are more complex and require both the phagocytic system, as well as antibody-mediated and cell-mediated immunity [4, 5, 6, 7]. While neutrophils play a role in host defense against some of these pathogens, the recruitment and/or activation of macrophages and CD44+ T cells is essential for the effective clearance of many intracellular pathogens from the lung.


Colony Form Unit Bacterial Pneumonia Pneumococcal Pneumonia Bacterial Clearance Chemotactic Cytokine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. Standiford
    • 1
  • B. Merhad
    • 1
  • W. C. Tsai
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine Pulmonary Inpatient ServiceUniversity of Michigan Medical CenterAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric PulmonologyUniversity of Michigan Medical CenterAnn ArborUSA

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