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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2003 Dec;14(6):523-35.

Cytokine-mediated inflammation in acute lung injury.

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  • 1Medical Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, VA Puget Sound Medical Center, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98108, USA.


Clinical acute lung injury (ALI) is a major cause of acute respiratory failure in critically ill patients. There is considerable experimental and clinical evidence that pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines play a major role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory-induced lung injury from sepsis, pneumonia, aspiration, and shock. A recent multi-center clinical trial found that a lung-protective ventilatory strategy reduces mortality by 22% in patients with ALI. Interestingly, this protective ventilatory strategy was associated with a marked reduction in the number of neutrophils and the concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines released into the airspaces of the injured lung. Further research is needed to establish the contribution of cytokines to both the pathogenesis and resolution of ALI.

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