Innate immune responses appear to be partially responsible for maintaining inflammation and tissue destruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the early stages of the disease in smokers, the airways are bombarded with large quantities of particulate material, and activation of phagocytic cells results in the release of many of the mediators believed to remodel the airways. Ironically, failure of the innate immune defense system, either by inherited deficiency or as a result of chronic smoke inhalation, is likely to result in increased susceptibility to infectious disease and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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