Why does inflammation persist: a dominant role for the stromal microenvironment?
Douglas MR., Morrison KE., Salmon M., Buckley CD.
Inflammatory responses occur within tissue microenvironments, with functional contributions from both haematopoietic (lymphocytic) cells and stromal cells (including macrophages and fibroblasts). These environments are complex--a compound of many different cell types at different stages of activation and differentiation. Traditional models of inflammatory disease highlight the role of antigen-specific lymphocyte responses and attempt to identify causative agents. However, recent studies have indicated the importance of tissue microenvironments and the innate immune response in perpetuating the inflammatory process. The prominent role of stromal cells in the generation and maintenance of these environments has begun to challenge the primacy of the lymphocyte in regulating chronic inflammatory processes. Sensible enquiries into factors regulating the persistence of inflammatory disease necessitate an understanding of the mechanisms regulating tissue homeostasis and remodelling during inflammation. This article highlights recent insights into the factors regulating dynamic aspects of inflammation, focusing particularly on mononuclear cell infiltrates, their interactions with stromal cells in tissues and the relevance of these interactions to existing and possible future therapies. A key feature of current research has been a growing appreciation that disordered spatial and temporal interactions between infiltrating immune cells and resident stromal cells lie at the heart of disease persistence.