Components of the innate immune system serve to protect the host from invading pathogens prior to the generation of a directed immune response, and influence the manner in which the directed immune response develops. The pulmonary surfactant system consists of a complex array of proteins and lipids that reduce surface tension of the alveoli, and appears to play an essential role in innate immunity. Investigators have recently gained insight into the interactions between components of the surfactant system and the respiratory pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is likely that pulmonary surfactant and other innate immune determinants play significant roles in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis.
Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.