Cytokines and pulmonary inflammatory and immune diseases.
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Cytokines are important soluble signalling molecules that dictate and coordinate inflammatory and immune responses. Further understanding the role of cytokines in the pathobiologic mechanisms of pulmonary inflammatory and immune diseases holds the key to the development of effective prophylactic and therapeutic strategies. In the last several years, the use of models of human pulmonary diseases established either in normal adult animals, mice deficient for a given immune cell type or cytokine, or mice engineered to overexpress a given cytokine, has remarkably facilitated our understanding of the mechanisms operating in human disease. Cytokines that are involved in pulmonary inflammatory and immune conditions may be generally divided into groups of pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory and growth-stimulatory cytokines. While pro-inflammatory cytokines can be detrimental under such severe conditions as endotoxemia and fibrosis, they are required in host resistance against infectious agents. Anti-inflammatory cytokines play an important role in controlling the extent of tissue inflammatory/immune responses. Overexpression of growth-stimulatory cytokines are often directly associated with tissue fibrotic responses. In this review, the findings attained from experimental models by us and others were discussed with emphasis on cellular and histopathologic alterations, cytokine-mediated molecular mechanisms and the prospects of cytokine-based therapeutic strategies. Due to the restrict space, we chose to focus only on models for endotoxic lung, endotoxemia, acute pulmonary infections by extracellular Gram-negative bacteria, chronic pulmonary infections by intracellular myco-bacteria, allergic airways inflammation and pulmonary fibrosis.
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