Dynamics of Pulmonary Inflammation

  • Which circumstances impair pulmonary inflammation in a way to cause a long-term damage of the lung?
  • Which factors determine the transition from acute to chronic inflammation. How are alveolar macrophages involved?
  • What makes some environmental stimuli cause a persistent, non resolving inflammtion while other stimuli only initiate a transient irritation? Particularly, which material properties of inhaled particles determine the particle-triggered course of inflammation.


Inflammation is a very dynamic biological reaction of the tissues in response to any stimuli that is harmful to the body. To prevent unnecessary tissue damage the acute inflammatory response must be actively terminated and resolved when no longer needed. When the inflammation lasts much longer than normal or even becomes chronic, it is usually a major destruction and replacement of the cells within the tissue suffering the inflammation. Persistent or chronic inflammation might thus been seen as a failure of resolution, and often present in patients with chronic lung diseases such as COPD. It may also lead to an imbalance in production of cytokines and growth factors and thereby trigger abnormal wound-healing responses characteristic for the fatal disorder: pulmonary fibrosis.
Macrophages play a central role for the resolution of acute inflammation. As professional phagocytes, these cells essentially contribute to clearance of extravasated inflammatory neutrophils and support subsequent healing responses to restore tissue homeostasis. For this reason our research focuses in particular on the impact of macrophages on the transition from acute to chronic lung inflammation.