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COPD. 2009 Aug;6(4):284-90.

The role of dendritic cells in the pathogenesis of COPD: liaison officers in the front line.

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  • 1Laboratory for Translational Research in Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.


Dendritic cells are professional antigen presenting cells linking innate and adaptive immune responses. Different dendritic cell subsets were identified in human lung, each with their own functional characteristics. As innate and adaptive immune responses are activated in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), dendritic cells could play a role in the pathogenesis of this disease. Indeed, cigarette smoke appears to modulate dendritic cell function in vitro and alters dendritic cell numbers and function in cigarette smoke exposed mice. The number of pulmonary dendritic cells differs between COPD patients, smokers and non-smokers. Moreover, the number of Langerhans-type dendritic cells increases with the severity of the disease. In this review we will discuss the scientific evidence regarding the role of dendritic cells in COPD and we will put forward the concept of modulation of dendritic cell differentiation and function as a crucial step in the pathogenesis of COPD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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