Immunogenetics of severe respiratory infections: models for the development of new therapeutic strategies

Respiration. 2005 Sep-Oct;72(5):449-57. doi: 10.1159/000087666.


Innate and adaptive immunity plays a critical role in the defence of the lung and other mucosal surfaces exposed to micro-organisms. Anti-microbial peptides and proteins, cytokines and chemokines are important immune weapons as they build up the protective front for the respiratory tract. The notion that susceptibility to infectious diseases may be inherited is widely accepted and, as it is the failure to activate adaptive immunity that may allow infection to become established and progress toward invasion and dissemination, the recognition of specific gene defects affecting the ability of the immune system to overcome invading pathogens may shed light upon those mechanisms of immune regulation that are playing the most critical roles. The aim of the present review is to discuss some of the advances in infection immunogenetics that may lead to identify new strategies in the development of new anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Pneumonia / genetics*
  • Pneumonia / immunology*
  • Pneumonia / therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / genetics*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / therapy
  • Sepsis / genetics*
  • Sepsis / immunology*
  • Sepsis / therapy


  • Cytokines