The human BPI (bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein), stored in primary azurophilic granula of neutrophil granulocytes and produced by mucosal epithelia, has been known for decades to bind LPS (lipopolysaccharide) with very high affinity and to efficiently kill Gram-negative bacteria. Thus BPI potentially represents a central component of the innate immune system to directly combat microbes and modulate subsequent adaptive immune responses. Especially in the lungs, which are frequently exposed to a variety of inhaled pathogens, antimicrobial innate defence molecules such as BPI, are of exceptional relevance. In the present review, we highlight possible functions of BPI during acute pneumonia and CF (cystic fibrosis)-associated chronic infections in the lung.

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