Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 721517, 9 pages
Review Article

Is There a Regulatory Role of Immunoglobulins on Tissue Forming Cells Relevant in Chronic Inflammatory Lung Diseases?

Pulmonary Cell Research, Department of Research and Pneumology, University Hospital Basel, 4031 Basel, Switzerland

Received 29 June 2011; Accepted 29 August 2011

Academic Editor: Brian Oliver

Copyright © 2011 Michael Roth. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epithelial cells, fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells together form and give structure to the airway wall. These three tissue forming cell types are structure giving elements and participate in the immune response to inhaled particles including allergens and dust. All three cell types actively contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Tissue forming cells respond directly to allergens through activated immunoglobulins which then bind to their corresponding cell surface receptors. It was only recently reported that allergens and particles traffic through epithelial cells without modification and bind to the immunoglobulin receptors on the surface of sub-epithelial mesenchymal cells. In consequence, these cells secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby extending the local inflammation. Furthermore, activation of the immunoglobulin receptors can induce proliferation and tissue remodeling of the tissue forming cells. New studies using anti-IgE antibody therapy indicate that the inhibition of immunoglobulins reduces the response of tissue forming cells. The unmeasured questions are: (i) why do tissue forming cells express immunoglobulin receptors and (ii) do tissue forming cells process immunoglobulin receptor bound particles? The focus of this review is to provide an overview of the expression and function of various immunoglobulin receptors.