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Pulmonary respiration inevitably exposes the mucosal surface of the lung to potentially noxious stimuli, including pathogens, allergens, and particulates, each of which can trigger pulmonary damage and inflammation. As inflammation resolves, B and T lymphocytes often aggregate around large bronchi to form inducible Bronchus-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (iBALT). iBALT formation can be initiated by a diverse array of molecular pathways that converge on the activation and differentiation of chemokine-expressing stromal cells that serve as the scaffolding for iBALT and facilitate the recruitment, retention, and organization of leukocytes. Like conventional lymphoid organs, iBALT recruits naïve lymphocytes from the blood, exposes them to local antigens, in this case from the airways, and supports their activation and differentiation into effector cells. The activity of iBALT is demonstrably beneficial for the clearance of respiratory pathogens; however, it is less clear whether it dampens or exacerbates inflammatory responses to non-infectious agents. Here, we review the evidence regarding the role of iBALT in pulmonary immunity and propose that the final outcome depends on the context of the disease.


Aaron Silva-Sanchez, Troy D Randall. Role of iBALT in Respiratory Immunity. Current topics in microbiology and immunology. 2020;426:21-43

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PMID: 31974759

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