Lung Homeostasis: Influence of Age, Microbes, and the Immune System

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Abstract

Pulmonary immune homeostasis is maintained by a network of tissue-resident cells that continually monitor the external environment, and in health, instruct tolerance to innocuous inhaled particles while ensuring that efficient and rapid immune responses can be mounted against invading pathogens. Here we review the multiple pathways that underlie effective lung immunity in health, and discuss how these may be affected by external environmental factors and contribute to chronic inflammation during disease. In this context, we examine the current understanding of the impact of the microbiota in immune development and function and in the setting of the threshold for immune responses that maintains the balance between tolerance and chronic inflammation in the lung. We propose that host interactions with microbes are critical for establishing the immune landscape of the lungs.

Lloyd and Marsland review the multiple pathways that underlie effective lung immunity in health and discuss the impact of the microbiota in lung immune development and function, including the setting of the threshold for immune responses that maintains the balance between tolerance and chronic inflammation in the lung.

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