ALI/ARDS (acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome) is a severe inflammatory lung disease associated with very high mortality. Importantly, no effective therapy has been developed to date for ALI/ARDS. Neutrophils have been implicated in the pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS, and IL-8 (interleukin-8) has been identified as the main chemotactic factor for neutrophils in lung fluids of patients with ALI/ARDS. Significantly, studies from our laboratory have revealed the presence of anti-IL-8 autoantibody:IL-8 immune complexes in lung fluids from patients with ALI/ARDS. Autoantibodies to several cytokines, including IL-8, have been found in human plasma and other tissues. The function of anticytokine autoantibodies is far from clear; however, in some instances, it has been suggested that such autoantibodies may contribute to the pathogenesis of variety of human diseases. In addition, many of these autoantibodies can form immune complexes with target cytokines. Furthermore, immune complexes consisting of anti-IL-8 autoantibodies and IL-8 are very stable due to the high affinity of autoantibodies against IL-8. These complexes are present in various human tissues, including the lung, as they have been detected in lung fluids from patients with ALI/ARDS. In this review, the significance of the latter findings are explored, and the possible involvement of anti-IL-8 autoantibody:IL-8 immune complexes in pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS is discussed.

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