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Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Feb;8(2):142-52. doi: 10.1038/nri2236.

Regulation of immunological homeostasis in the respiratory tract.

Author information

1
Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth 6009, Western Australia. patrick@ichr.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

The respiratory tract has an approximate surface area of 70 m2 in adult humans, which is in virtually direct contact with the outside environment. It contains a uniquely rich vascular bed containing a large pool of marginated T cells, and harbours a layer of single-cell-thick epithelial tissue through which re-oxygenation of blood must occur uninterrupted for survival. It is therefore not surprising that the respiratory tract is never more than a short step away from disaster. We have only a partial understanding of how immunological homeostasis is maintained in these tissues, but it is becoming clear that the immune system has evolved a range of specific mechanisms to deal with the unique problems encountered in this specialized microenvironment.

PMID:
18204469
DOI:
10.1038/nri2236
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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