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Cell Cycle. 2004 Feb;3(2):168-71.

An unexpected role for hypoxic response: oxygenation and inflammation.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California 92093-0366, USA.


The eradication of invading microorganisms depends initially on innate immunity mechanisms that preexist in all individuals and act within minutes of infection. Pathogen spread is often countered by an inflammatory response that recruits more effector molecules and cells of the innate immune system from local blood vessels, while inducing clotting farther downstream so that pathogens cannot spread throughout the blood. If a microorganism crosses an epithelial barrier and begins to replicate in the tissues of the host, it is, in some cases, immediately recognized by the mononuclear phagocytes, or macrophages, that reside in tissues. Macrophages mature continuously from circulating monocytes that leave the circulation to migrate into tissues throughout the body. The second major family of phagocytes, the neutrophils or polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) are short-lived cells that are abundant cells in the blood but are not present in healthy tissues. Both phagocytic cell types play a key role in innate immunity because they can recognize, ingest and destroy many pathogens without the aid of an adaptive immune response. This infiltration of neutrophils and later macrophages to the site of bacterial infection is tightly linked with the need of these immune defense cells to respond to the tissue microenvironment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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