This review updates the basic biology of lung DCs and their functions. Lung DCs have taken center stage as cellular therapeutic targets in new vaccine strategies for the treatment of diverse human disorders, including asthma, allergic lung inflammation, lung cancer, and infectious lung disease. The anatomical distribution of lung DCs, as well as the division of labor between their subsets, aids their ability to recognize and endocytose foreign substances and to process antigens. DCs can induce tolerance in or activate naive T cells, making lung DCs well-suited to their role as lung sentinels. Lung DCs serve as a functional signaling/sensing unit to maintain lung homeostasis and orchestrate host responses to benign and harmful foreign substances.
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