Matrix regulation of lung injury, inflammation, and repair: the role of innate immunity

Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2006 Jul;3(5):401-4. doi: 10.1513/pats.200604-097AW.


Mechanisms that regulate host defense after noninfectious tissue injury are incompletely understood. Our laboratory is interested in the role of the extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan in the regulation of lung inflammation and fibrosis. We have identified key roles for two cell surface receptor systems that interact with hyaluronan to control lung inflammation and tissue repair. Hematopoietic CD44 is necessary to clear hyaluronan fragments that are produced after lung injury. Failure to clear hyaluronan fragments leads to unremitting inflammation. However, in the absence of CD44, alveolar macrophages continue to produce chemokines in response to hyaluronan fragments, implicating another receptor system in controlling macrophage effector function. We found that Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2 and TLR4) are responsible for macrophage inflammatory gene expression in response to hyaluronan fragments. Although TLR2 and TLR4 initiate the innate immune response in noninfectious inflammation, they have a protective role against lung injury on alveolar epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / metabolism*


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins