Send to

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

Regulation of immunological homeostasis in the respiratory tract.

Author information

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, Perth 6009, Western Australia.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center