Epithelial cells are incriminated as active participants in the airway inflammatory response, and epithelial oxygenation pathways are ideal candidates to act as a source of mediators for modulating inflammation. Recent discoveries include the facts that airway epithelial cells contain abundant stores of fatty acid substrates for oxygenation; the cells have the capacity to release these substrates through the action of specific phospholipases; they express enzymatic activity for cyclooxygenation and lipoxygenation at a high level relative to other cell types; and some of the oxygenation products have potent functional effects in the airway. The accessibility of the surface epithelial cells to inhaled inflammatory stimuli will also enable anti-inflammatory drugs to reach them, and much of this therapeutic potential is still unexplored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalImmunology and Allergy Clinics of North America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


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