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Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2001;14(3):169-76.

Leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF): a cytokine of emerging importance in chronic airway inflammation.

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Asthma & Allergy Research Institute, Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.


Inflammation is a complex set of mechanisms by which tissues respond to an injury. These responses involve the coordinated interaction between the nervous and immune systems. An integral part of this interaction is the release of a variety of cytokines that regulate cellular and molecular responses. Leukaemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF), a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines, has been shown to be an integral component of the interface between nerves and the immune system. However, little is known about this cytokine in the context of normal lung function or indeed, inflammation. Evidence is emerging that this cytokine may play an important role in regulating the neural-immune system interaction during acute inflammatory insult and the subsequent healing and restitution process. However, LIF may act as either a pro- or antiinflammatory cytokine, depending on the cell type and a number of other variables. In this review, the role of LIF in airway inflammation and resolution of inflammation is discussed. In particular, recent work suggesting that LIF is a mediator of bi-directional cross-talk between neural tissue and the immune system is highlighted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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