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Role of T-lymphocytes and pro-inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Authors Gadgil A, Duncan SR

Published 5 December 2008 Volume 2008:3(4) Pages 531—541


Aneal Gadgil, Steven R Duncan

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Abstract: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the US and a major worldwide healthcare problem. The pathophysiologic mechanisms that drive development and progression of this disease are complex and only poorly understood. While tobacco smoking is the primary risk factor, other disease processes also appear to play a role. Components of the innate immune system (eg, macrophages and neutrophils) have long been believed to be important in the development of COPD. More recent evidence also suggests involvement of the adaptive immune system in pathogenesis of this disease. Here we will review the literature supporting the participation of T-cells in the development of COPD, and comment on the potential antigenic stimuli that may account for these responses. We will further explore the prospective contributions of T-cell derived mediators that could contribute to the inflammation, alveolar wall destruction, and small airway fibrosis of advanced COPD. A better understanding of these complex immune processes will lead to new insights that could result in improved preventative and/or treatment strategies.

Keywords: COPD, T-lymphocytes, adaptive immunity, cytokines

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