Pulmonary defence mechanisms

Respiration. 1999;66(1):2-11. doi: 10.1159/000029329.


Lung defence involves a wide array of mechanisms needed to remove inhaled particles and organisms. The various innate immune processes which take place either in the central or in the more distant airways are reviewed. The recruitment and the development of an adaptive immunity following the innate response are described. This entails the production of secretory immunoglobulins in the airways and either the influx of polymorphonuclear neutrophils in the alveoli to phagocytose more or less opsonized organisms or the activation of the T lymphocyte response to improve the removal of intracellular pathogens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / immunology
  • Respiratory System / immunology*


  • Interleukins