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Curr Opin Virol. 2012 Jun;2(3):233-41. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 May 17.

Recent insights into pulmonary repair following virus-induced inflammation of the respiratory tract.

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  • 1Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


A hallmark of infection by respiratory viruses is productive infection of and the subsequent destruction of the airway epithelium. These viruses can also target other stromal cell types as well as in certain instances, CD45(+) hematopoietic cells either resident in the lungs or part of the inflammatory response to infection. The mechanisms by which the virus produces injury to these cell types include direct infection with cytopathic effects as a consequence of replication. Host mediated damage is also a culprit in pulmonary injury as both innate and adaptive immune cells produce soluble and cell-associated pro-inflammatory mediators. Recently, it has become increasingly clear that in addition to control of excess inflammation and virus elimination, the resolution of infection requires an active repair process, which is necessary to regain normal respiratory function and restore the lungs to homeostasis. The repair response must re-establish the epithelial barrier and regenerate the microarchitecture of the lung. Emerging areas of research have highlighted the importance of innate immune cells, particularly the newly described innate lymphoid cells, as well as alternatively activated macrophages and pulmonary stem cells in the repair process. The mechanisms by which respiratory viruses may impede or alter the repair response will be important areas of research for identifying therapeutic targets aimed at limiting virus and host mediated injury and expediting recovery.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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