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Subcell Biochem. 2011;55:95-138. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-1217-1_5.

Nucleotide-mediated airway clearance.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 33136, USA, schmida.miami@gmail.com.


A thin layer of airway surface liquid (ASL) lines the entire surface of the lung and is the first point of contact between the lung and the environment. Surfactants contained within this layer are secreted in the alveolar region and are required to maintain a low surface tension and to prevent alveolar collapse. Mucins are secreted into the ASL throughout the respiratory tract and serve to intercept inhaled pathogens, allergens and toxins. Their removal by mucociliary clearance (MCC) is facilitated by cilia beating and hydration of the ASL by active ion transport. Throughout the lung, secretion, ion transport and cilia beating are under purinergic control. Pulmonary epithelia release ATP into the ASL which acts in an autocrine fashion on P2Y(2) (ATP) receptors. The enzymatic network describes in Chap. 2 then mounts a secondary wave of signaling by surface conversion of ATP into adenosine (ADO), which induces A(2B) (ADO) receptor-mediated responses. This chapter offers a comprehensive description of MCC and the extensive ramifications of the purinergic signaling network on pulmonary surfaces.

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