Needs and Opportunities for Research in Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) develops after inhalation of many different environmental antigens, causing variable clinical symptoms that often make diagnosis uncertain. The prevalence of HP is higher than recognized, especially its chronic form. Mechanisms of disease are still incompletely known. Strategies to improve detection and diagnosis are needed, and treatment options, principally avoidance, are limited. A workshop recommended: a population-based study to more accurately document the incidence and prevalence of HP; better classification of disease stages, including natural history; evaluation of diagnostic tests and biomarkers used to detect disease; better correlation of computerized tomography lung imaging and pathologic changes; more study of inflammatory and immune mechanisms; and improvement of animal models that are more relevant for human disease.