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F1000 Biol Rep. 2013;5:3. doi: 10.3410/B5-3. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Cytokines in chronic respiratory diseases.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21201 USA ; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21201 USA ; Baltimore VA Medical Center Baltimore, MD 21201 USA.

Abstract

Cytokines are small, secreted proteins that control immune responses. Within the lung, they can control host responses to injuries or infection, resulting in clearance of the insult, repair of lung tissue, and return to homeostasis. Problems can arise when this response is over exuberant and/or cytokine production becomes dysregulated. In such cases, chronic and repeated inflammatory reactions and cytokine production can be established, leading to airway remodeling and fibrosis with unintended, maladaptive consequences. In this report, we describe the cytokines and molecular mechanisms behind the pathology observed in three major chronic diseases of the lung: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis. Overlapping mechanisms are presented as potential sites for therapeutic intervention.

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