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Pulmonary macrophages: key players in the innate defence of the airways
  1. Adam J Byrne,
  2. Sara A Mathie,
  3. Lisa G Gregory,
  4. Clare M Lloyd
  1. Leukocyte Biology Section, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Clare M Lloyd, Leukocyte Biology Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK; c.lloyd{at}


Macrophages are the most numerous immune-cells present in the lung environment under homoeostatic conditions and are ideally positioned to dictate the innate defence of the airways. Pulmonary macrophage populations are heterogeneous and demonstrate remarkable plasticity, owing to variations in origin, tissue residency and environmental influences. Lung macrophage diversity facilitates considerable specialisation, aids efficient responses to environmental signals and allows rapid alterations in phenotype and physiology in response to a plethora of cytokines and microbial signals. This review describes pulmonary macrophage origins, phenotypes, roles in diseases of the airways and implications for the treatment of respiratory disease.

  • Innate Immunity
  • Macrophage Biology
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • COPD Exacerbations
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Asthma Mechanisms
  • Respiratory Infection

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