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Mol Med. 2010 Jan-Feb;16(1-2):69-82. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2009.00097. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Pattern recognition receptor-dependent mechanisms of acute lung injury.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and Surgical Research, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15240, United States of America.


Acute lung injury (ALI) that clinically manifests as acute respiratory distress syndrome is caused by an uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response resulting from clinical events including sepsis, major surgery and trauma. Innate immunity activation plays a central role in the development of ALI. Innate immunity is activated through families of related pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which recognize conserved microbial motifs or pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Toll-like receptors were the first major family of PRRs discovered in mammals. Recently, NACHT-leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptors and retinoic acid-inducible gene-like receptors have been added to the list. It is now understood that in addition to recognizing infectious stimuli, both Toll-like receptors and NACHT-LRR receptors can also respond to endogenous molecules released in response to stress, trauma and cell damage. These molecules have been termed damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). It has been clinically observed for a long time that infectious and noninfectious insults initiate inflammation, so confirmation of overlapping receptor-signal pathways of activation between PAMPs and DAMPs is no surprise. This review provides an overview of the PRR-dependent mechanisms of ALI and clinical implication. Modification of PRR pathways is likely to be a logical therapeutic target for ALI/acute respiratory distress syndrome.

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