Collectins and cationic antimicrobial peptides of the respiratory epithelia
The respiratory epithelium is a primary site for the deposition of microorganisms that are acquired during inspiration. The innate immune system of the respiratory tract eliminates many of these potentially harmful agents preventing their colonization. Collectins and cationic antimicrobial peptides are antimicrobial components of the pulmonary innate immune system produced by respiratory epithelia, which have integral roles in host defense and inflammation in the lung. Synthesis and secretion of these molecules are regulated by the developmental stage, hormones, as well as many growth and immunoregulatory factors. The purpose of this review is to discuss antimicrobial innate immune elements within the respiratory tract of healthy and pneumonic lung with emphasis on hydrophilic surfactant proteins and β-defensins.