Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The role of epithelial damage in the pulmonary immune response

Lookup NU author(s): Rachel Burgoyne, Professor Andrew FisherORCiD, Dr Lee Borthwick



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Pulmonary epithelial cells are widely considered to be the first line of defence in the lung and are responsible for coordinating the innate immune response to injury and subsequent repair. Consequently, epithelial cells communicate with multiple cell types including immune cells and fibroblasts to promote acute inflammation and normal wound healing in response to damage. However, aberrant epithelial cell death and damage are hallmarks of pulmonary disease, with necrotic cell death and cellular senescence contributing to disease pathogenesis in numerous respiratory diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronavirus disease (COVID)-19. In this review, we summarise the literature that demonstrates that epithelial damage plays a pivotal role in the dysregulation of the immune response leading to tissue destruction and abnormal remodelling in several chronic diseases. Specifically, we highlight the role of epithelial-derived damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and senescence in shaping the immune response and assess their contribution to inflammatory and fibrotic signalling pathways in the lung.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burgoyne RA, Fisher AJ, Borthwick LA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cells

Year: 2021

Volume: 10

Issue: 10

Online publication date: 15/10/2021

Acceptance date: 12/10/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4409

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/cells10102763