Dynamics of lung defense in pneumonia: resistance, resilience, and remodeling

Annu Rev Physiol. 2015;77:407-30. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021014-071937. Epub 2014 Aug 13.


Pneumonia is initiated by microbes in the lung, but physiological processes integrating responses across diverse cell types and organ systems dictate the outcome of respiratory infection. Resistance, or actions of the host to eradicate living microbes, in the lungs involves a combination of innate and adaptive immune responses triggered by air-space infection. Resilience, or the ability of the host tissues to withstand the physiologically damaging effects of microbial and immune activities, is equally complex, precisely regulated, and determinative. Both immune resistance and tissue resilience are dynamic and change throughout the lifetime, but we are only beginning to understand such remodeling and how it contributes to the incidence of severe pneumonias, which diminishes as childhood progresses and then increases again among the elderly. Here, we review the concepts of resistance, resilience, and remodeling as they apply to pneumonia, highlighting recent advances and current significant knowledge gaps.

Keywords: NF-κB; STAT3; cytokines; innate immunity; lung; respiratory infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / physiology
  • Airway Remodeling / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Resistance / immunology
  • Disease Resistance / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / physiology
  • Pneumonia / physiopathology
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / physiology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / physiopathology