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Immunocompetent cells of the upper airway: functions in normal and diseased mucosa.

  • Brandtzaeg, P
Published Article
European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1995
252 Suppl 1
PMID: 7734979


Secretory immunity is central in primary defense of the airway mucosa. B cells involved in this local immune system are initially stimulated in mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue, including tonsils and adenoids, and then migrate to secretory effector sites where they become immunoglobulin (Ig)-producing plasma cells. Locally produced Ig consists mainly of J-chain-containing dimers and larger polymers of IgA (pIgA) that are selectively transported through glandular cells by an epithelial receptor called secretory component or pIgR. Secretory antibodies perform surface protection by immune exclusion of soluble antigens as well as infectious agents. IgG can also participate in this primary defense because it reaches secretions by passive diffusion similar to IgE. However, the inflammatory properties of antibodies belonging to the latter two classes explain their involvement in mucosal immunopathology when elimination of penetrating antigens is unsuccessful. T helper (Th) cells activated in this process may by a Th2 profile of cytokines promote persistent inflammation with extravasation and priming of eosinophils. This mechanism appears to occur in the late-phase allergic reaction, perhaps driven mainly by interleukin-4 (IL-4) released from mast cells subjected to IgE-mediated degranulation. Eosinophils are potentially tissue-destructive cells, particularly after priming with IL-5. Cytokines also up-regulate adhesion molecules on vascular endothelium and epithelium, thereby enhancing migration of eosinophils and other leukocytes into the mucosa.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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