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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 95-101

Airway epithelial cells: Barrier and much more

Allergy and Immunology Section, CSIR - Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Naveen Arora
Room 509, Allergy and Immunology Section, CSIR - Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi University Campus, Mall Road, Delhi - 110 007
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Source of Support: Network Project, Council of Scientifi c and Industrial Research, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6691.124390

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Airway epithelial cells were first considered as a barrier to the inhaled environmental bioparticles, but recent evidences show that they have a more vital role to play in the pathophysiology of Airway diseases. Many of the factors present in the inhaled air interact with the receptors expressed on the epithelial cells leading to their activation. Activated epithelial cells then secrete a range of mediators that help in mediating the inflammation. These mediators contain the chemokines that act as chemoattractants and recruit inflammatory cells like neutrophils, macrophages, mast cells, eosinophils, and Th-2 cells that further exacerbate the intensity of inflammation. Some of the inhaled substances like protease enzymes can also disrupt the barrier of epithelium and gain an entry to the immune cells of the body leading to their activation. Bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and acute respiratory distress syndrome represent a broad range of conditions involving pulmonary inflammation. This review takes into account the role of epithelial cells in initiating allergic reactions at mucosal surfaces.

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