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Lung Infections*: Role of Apoptosis in Host Defense and Pathogenesis of Disease

Mehrdad Behnia, MD; Kent A. Robertson, MD, PhD; William J. Martin, II, MD, FCCP
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*From the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine (Drs. Behnia and Martin), and Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research, and Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Department of Pediatrics (Dr. Robertson), Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN.

Correspondence to: William J. Martin II, MD, FCCP, 1001 West Tenth St, OPW 425, Indianapolis, IN 46202



Chest. 2000;117(6):1771-1777. doi:10.1378/chest.117.6.1771
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Apoptosis is a form of cell death that has gained enormous attention during the past few years, and its mechanisms, important to biology and medicine, are being unraveled at an accelerating pace. Apoptosis of lung cells occurs during lung infections and may be either a host defense mechanism or reflect the pathogenesis of the infection. In the first part of this review, the biochemistry and physiology of apoptotic pathways and its regulators are discussed. This is followed by an overview of apoptotic mechanisms in selected lung infections. The implications of apoptosis in host immunity, pathogenesis, and treatment of pulmonary infections will be discussed in this context.

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