Millions of individuals worldwide are afflicted with acute and chronic respiratory diseases, causing temporary and permanent disabilities and even death. Oftentimes, these diseases occur as a result of altered immune responses. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a ligand-activated transcription factor, acts as a regulator of mucosal barrier function and may influence immune responsiveness in the lungs through changes in gene expression, cell-cell adhesion, mucin production, and cytokine expression. This review updates the basic immunobiology of the AhR signaling pathway with regards to inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and silicosis following data in rodent models and humans. Finally, we address the therapeutic potential of targeting the AhR in regulating inflammation during acute and chronic respiratory diseases.
- Aryl hydrocarbon receptor
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease