Return to content in this issue


Airway Epithelium Plays a Leading Role in the Complex Framework Underlying Respiratory Allergy

López-Rodríguez JC1, Benedé S1, Barderas R1,2, Villalba M1, Batanero E1

1Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular I, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
2UFIEC, National Institute of Health Carlos III, Majadahonda, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2017; Vol 27(6) : 346-355
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0201

Airway epithelium is the cellular structure with the greatest surface exposed to a plethora of environmental airborne substances, including microorganisms, respiratory viruses, air pollutants, and allergens. In addition to being a protective physical barrier at the air–liquid interface, the airway epithelium acts as an effective chemical and immunological barrier that plays a crucial role in orchestrating the immune response in the lungs, by supporting the activation, recruitment, and mobilization of immune cells. Airway epithelium dysfunction has been clearly associated with various airway inflammatory diseases, such as allergic asthma. Although it is not fully understood why a person develops respiratory allergy, a growing body of evidence shows that the nature of the host’s immune response is strongly determined by the state of the airway epithelium at the time of contact with the inhaled allergen. Our review highlights the physiological state of airway epithelium as a key element in the development of allergy and, particularly, in exacerbation of asthma. We review the role of physiological oxidants as signaling molecules in lung biology and allergic diseases and examine how high exposure to air pollutants (eg, cigarette smoke and diesel particles) can contribute to the increased incidence of respiratory allergy and exacerbation of the disease

Key words: Airway epithelium, Barrier dysfunction, Respiratory allergy, Redox biology, Air pollutants