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DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2018026459
pages 303-331

Airway Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Subsets in the Resting Human Lung

Vineet Indrajit Patel
Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of the Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Jordan Patrick Metcalf
Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of the Department of Medicine and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

ABSTRACT

Dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages (MΦs) are antigen-presenting phagocytic cells found in many peripheral tissues of the human body, including the blood, lymph nodes, skin, and lung. They are vital to maintaining steady-state respiration in the human lung based on their ability to clear airways while also directing tolerogenic or inflammatory responses based on specific stimuli. Over the past three decades, studies have determined that there are multiple subsets of these two general cell types that exist in the airways and interstitium. Identifying these numerous subsets has proven challenging, especially with the unique microenvironments present in the lung. Cells found in the vasculature are not the same subsets found in the skin or the lung, as demonstrated by surface marker expression. By transcriptional profiling, these subsets show similarities but also major differences. Primary human lung cells and/ or tissues are difficult to acquire, particularly in a healthy condition. Additionally, surface marker screening and transcriptional profiling are continually identifying new DC and MΦ subsets. While the overall field is moving forward, we emphasize that more attention needs to focus on replicating the steady-state microenvironment of the lung to reveal the physiological functions of these subsets.


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