Control of local immunity by airway epithelial cells.

Mucosal immunology

PubMedID: 26627458

Weitnauer M, Mijošek V, Dalpke AH. Control of local immunity by airway epithelial cells. Mucosal Immunol. 2016;.
The lung is ventilated by thousand liters of air per day. Inevitably, the respiratory system comes into contact with airborne microbial compounds, most of them harmless contaminants. Airway epithelial cells are known to have innate sensor functions, thus being able to detect microbial danger. To avoid chronic inflammation, the pulmonary system has developed specific means to control local immune responses. Even though airway epithelial cells can act as proinflammatory promoters, we propose that under homeostatic conditions airway epithelial cells are important modulators of immune responses in the lung. In this review, we discuss epithelial cell regulatory functions that control reactivity of professional immune cells within the microenvironment of the airways and how these mechanisms are altered in pulmonary diseases. Regulation by epithelial cells can be divided into two mechanisms: (1) mediators regulate epithelial cells' innate sensitivity in cis and (2) factors are produced that limit reactivity of immune cells in trans.