Pulmonary host defenses. Implications for therapy

Clin Chest Med. 1999 Sep;20(3):475-88, vii. doi: 10.1016/s0272-5231(05)70229-x.


Pulmonary host defenses comprise a redundant system of protective mechanisms against invasion of the lungs by pathogenic microbes. The upper and lower airways are uniquely suited to contain and remove organisms that gain access to the respiratory mucosa. If the balance between host and organism is disputed, however, microbial clearance may be ineffective, and infection established. Pulmonary host defense mechanisms, which provide the basis for several current therapeutic strategies, are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / physiology
  • Immunocompetence / drug effects
  • Immunocompetence / immunology*
  • Lung Diseases / immunology
  • Mucociliary Clearance / immunology
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Respiratory Mechanics / drug effects
  • Respiratory Mechanics / immunology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents