chapter  11
42 Pages

Role of Cytokines in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Respiratory Disease

WithH. Bielefeldt-Ohmann

Respiratory diseases, in particular those caused by infectious agents and to a lesser extent allergic hypersensitivity and chemically induced lung injury, are among the most common diseases in mammals and birds. The respiratory tract (RT) is continuously exposed to a barrage of microorganisms, commensal and pathogenic, dust, and irritant gases, as well as being a target organ system in sepsis and enterotoxemia. Recently, it has also been suggested that the RT, in particular the lung, may play a major and more general role in immune responsiveness and regulation in the individual as a whole, being situated at the interface between the external and internal environments and containing all the cellular constituents of a lymphoid tissue (1).