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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2010 Jul;43(1):5-16. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2009-0047TR. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

Mechanisms of neutrophil accumulation in the lungs against bacteria.

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  • 1D.V.M., Pathobiolgical Sciences and Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.


Bacterial lung diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality both in immunocompromised and in immunocompetent individuals. Neutrophil accumulation, a pathological hallmark of bacterial diseases, is critical to host defense, but may also cause acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome. Toll-like receptors, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptors, transcription factors, cytokines, and chemokines play essential roles in neutrophil sequestration in the lungs. This review highlights our current understanding of the role of these molecules in the lungs during bacterial infection and their therapeutic potential. We also discuss emerging data on cholesterol and ethanol as environmentally modifiable factors that may impact neutrophil-mediated pulmonary innate host defense. Understanding the precise molecular mechanisms leading to neutrophil influx in the lungs during bacterial infection is critical for the development of more effective therapeutic and prophylactic strategies to control the excessive host response to infection.

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