Lung Immunity Fun Facts

I have been on a recent quest to wrap my head around lung immunity for a couple of reasons.

  1. I generally like fun facts, and
  2. I am trying to understand the concepts around lung immunity and ongoing asthma research about airway autoimmune phenomena.

I was so pleased to stumble upon an amazingly quick and easy-to-understand resource on lung immunity. It saved me from the endless sea of journal articles to connect all the dots. It helped me build an understanding of immunity and its applications in asthma.

How could immunity affect me?

As a patient, I often feel there is a lot of discussion about immunity, the role of infections, and its implications on asthma. However, there are a lot of developing theories about the role of those exact processes in understanding the bigger picture.

Although I had a childhood diagnosis of asthma, everything changed for me after a significant infection about 12 years ago. There is no definitive correlation to the exact impact of that singular infectious event; however, I often wonder if it had tipped the scale towards future components of my asthma or if those components had always been there.

Fun facts about lung immunity

  • Immunity is being able to fight infection.1
  • Immune cells in the lungs determine whether cells are healthy or a threat. Cells may be healthy because an infection fought off danger, or cells may be unhealthy in response to cellular damage caused by non-infectious agents.1
  • Large particles in the airway that are removed by the nasopharynx are removed by coughing and sneezing.2
  • In the lower airways, cilia helps to remove those particular by moving them along like a line, similar to a conveyor belt. Think of the middle school science class where you learned about cilia using rhythm to remove particles.2
  • There are lots of antimicrobial elements that are in the mucous layers of our lungs. They work to trap microbes, which are expelled by our immune system.2
  • The alveoli the area in our lungs that is primarily responsible for gas exchange is important in immunity because they recruit other immune cells when there is a threat. This is done by secreting cytokines and chemokines.2
  • T cells are found between the airspaces.2
  • Neutrophils and mast cells may be found in the lungs, however, they arrive on demand when they are needed.2

What about asthma and autoimmunity?

Autoimmunity applies immunity principles, in the context that ones’ immune system reacts against its own normal functions of immunity. This includes the detecting and disposing of antigens that it recognizes as foreign. If we continue along this thought process, asthma and autoimmunity are both dysregulated immune responses. The presence of autoantibodies in the lungs has piqued the interest of researchers who are investigating the autoimmune role that may be connected to asthma.3,4

This led to a recent study that identified the presence of possible airway autoimmunity phenomena that may affect anti-IL-5mAb therapy in some severe asthma patients. These patients were associated with higher impacts of IL-5 in their airways, late-onset disease, prednisone dependence, and evidence of sinus disease.3

The initial research is promising and is developing correlations between chronic inflammation and tissue injury related to autoimmune processes. It is important to note that as researchers continue to learn more, the development of its role, terminology, importance, and relevance in asthma treatments will be further developed.4

Have you been evaluated for autoimmunity connections to your asthma? I would love to hear about your experiences.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.