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1. What is the role of pulmonary host defense in the respiratory system?
Ans. Pulmonary host defense refers to the mechanisms and processes that protect the lungs from infections and other harmful substances. It includes various components such as the mucociliary escalator, alveolar macrophages, surfactant, and immune responses. These defenses help to prevent the entry and growth of pathogens in the respiratory system.
2. How does the mucociliary escalator contribute to pulmonary host defense?
Ans. The mucociliary escalator is a key defense mechanism in the respiratory system. It consists of cilia on the surface of the airway epithelial cells, which beat in coordinated waves to move mucus and trapped particles out of the lungs. This helps to remove pathogens, irritants, and debris from the airways, reducing the risk of infections and maintaining the cleanliness of the respiratory system.
3. What is the role of alveolar macrophages in pulmonary host defense?
Ans. Alveolar macrophages are specialized immune cells present in the alveoli of the lungs. They play a crucial role in pulmonary host defense by engulfing and destroying pathogens, as well as clearing cellular debris and foreign particles. Alveolar macrophages also release various chemical mediators that help to recruit other immune cells and coordinate the immune response in the lungs.
4. How does surfactant contribute to pulmonary host defense?
Ans. Surfactant is a complex mixture of lipids and proteins that lines the surface of the alveoli in the lungs. One of its key functions is to reduce surface tension, preventing the collapse of the alveoli during expiration. In terms of host defense, surfactant also plays a role in immune regulation and defense against pathogens. It contains antimicrobial peptides that can directly kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms, thus protecting the respiratory system.
5. How does the immune response contribute to pulmonary host defense?
Ans. The immune response is a vital component of pulmonary host defense. It involves the activation of immune cells, such as lymphocytes and neutrophils, in response to infections or exposure to harmful substances. These immune cells release cytokines and chemokines, which help to recruit more immune cells to the site of infection or inflammation. The immune response also includes the production of antibodies and the activation of specific immune pathways to eliminate pathogens and promote tissue repair in the lungs.
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