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Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Jan;5(1):58-68.

Immunoregulatory functions of surfactant proteins.

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Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Because the lungs function as the body's gas-exchange organ, they are inevitably exposed to air that is contaminated with pathogens, allergens and pollutants. Host-defence mechanisms within the lungs must facilitate clearance of inhaled pathogens and particles while minimizing an inflammatory response that could damage the thin, delicate gas-exchanging epithelium. Pulmonary surfactant is a complex of lipids and proteins that enhances pathogen clearance and regulates adaptive and innate immune-cell functions. In this article, I review the structure and functions of the surfactant proteins SP-A and SP-D in regulating host immune defence and in modulating inflammatory responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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