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Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Dec;29(2):156-65. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2014.03.001. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

Regulation of pulmonary inflammation by mesenchymal cells.

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Respiratory Research Group, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; Groningen Research Institute of Asthma and COPD (GRIAC), University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; Lung Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:


Pulmonary inflammation and tissue remodelling are common elements of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and pulmonary hypertension (PH). In disease, pulmonary mesenchymal cells not only contribute to tissue remodelling, but also have an important role in pulmonary inflammation. This review will describe the immunomodulatory functions of pulmonary mesenchymal cells, such as airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells and lung fibroblasts, in chronic respiratory disease. An important theme of the review is that pulmonary mesenchymal cells not only respond to inflammatory mediators, but also produce their own mediators, whether pro-inflammatory or pro-resolving, which influence the quantity and quality of the lung immune response. The notion that defective pro-inflammatory or pro-resolving signalling in these cells potentially contributes to disease progression is also discussed. Finally, the concept of specifically targeting pulmonary mesenchymal cell immunomodulatory function to improve therapeutic control of chronic respiratory disease is considered.


Cell adhesion molecule (CAM); Chemokine; Cytokine; Extracellular matrix (ECM); Macrophage; Mast cell

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