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A. The Lung's Innate Immune System

Narrator : This is Science Today. For the first time, scientists have outlined an organ-specific innate immune system. Dr. Eyal Raz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, explains that our lungs have a unique defense mechanism to protect against microbial invaders and fight off unwanted bacteria without causing collateral damage to the system.

Raz: Innate immunity, this is a kind of immediate protective response that is generated in the host against environmental microbial agents that interact with us and the interesting finding here is that each organ has its own strategy to deal with that.

Narrator: Raz says that this reaction is unique to the lung, and that other organs would try to eliminate the bacteria altogether.

Raz: If you take this bacteria and put them in the spleen, the spleen will mount a kind of, almost, holy war against the bacteria. It will go and chase them and kill them. If it happens in the lung, and the lung actually responds to the bacteria without any limitation, we are going to suffer.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.