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Semin Immunol. 2009 Jun;21(3):147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2009.01.005. Epub 2009 Feb 15.

Immune homeostasis in the respiratory tract and its impact on heterologous infection.

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Imperial College London, National Heart and Lung Institute, Leukocyte Biology Section, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.


Innate immunity at mucosal surfaces requires additional restraint to prevent inflammation to innocuous antigens or commensal microorganisms. The threshold above which airway macrophages become activated is raised by site-specific factors including the receptors for transforming growth factor beta, interleukin 10 and CD200; the ligands for which are produced by, or expressed on, respiratory epithelium. We discuss such site-specific regulation and how this is continually altered by prior infections. Resetting of innate reactivity represents a strategy for limiting excessive inflammation, but in some may pre-dispose to secondary bacterial pneumonia.

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