Macrophage-epithelial interactions in pulmonary alveoli

Semin Immunopathol. 2016 Jul;38(4):461-9. doi: 10.1007/s00281-016-0569-x. Epub 2016 May 12.


Alveolar macrophages have been investigated for years by approaches involving macrophage extraction from the lung by bronchoalveolar lavage, or by cell removal from lung tissue. Since extracted macrophages are studied outside their natural milieu, there is little understanding of the extent to which alveolar macrophages interact with the epithelium, or with one another to generate the lung's innate immune response to pathogen challenge. Here, we review new evidence of macrophage-epithelial interactions in the lung, and we address the emerging understanding that the alveolar epithelium plays an important role in orchestrating the macrophage-driven immune response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Communication*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism*
  • Pneumonia / immunology
  • Pneumonia / metabolism
  • Pneumonia / microbiology
  • Pneumonia / pathology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / immunology*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Calcium