Research Topic

Immune Mechanisms in the Pathogenic Response to Particles, Fibers, and Nanomaterials

About this Research Topic

Humans are exposed to particulates from exogenous and endogenous sources, including environmental pollutants, mineral and organic dusts, nanomaterials, nanomedicines, and metabolite crystals. Particulates with dimensions in the micro and nano range can readily biodistribute and accumulate throughout the body ...

Humans are exposed to particulates from exogenous and endogenous sources, including environmental pollutants, mineral and organic dusts, nanomaterials, nanomedicines, and metabolite crystals. Particulates with dimensions in the micro and nano range can readily biodistribute and accumulate throughout the body and elicit tissue and systemic responses that are frequently pathogenic, causing chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, allergy, fibrosis, cancer, atherosclerosis, and under certain circumstances, idiosyncratic reactions. Among these, fibrosis, systemic autoimmune disorder, cancer like mesothelioma, and cardiovascular disease are often progressive and refractory to medical intervention, leading to high mortality, disability, and medical burden. The mechanisms by which particulates bring about pathogenic responses are not fully understood, which contributes to the lack of effective therapeutic measures.

Unlike pathogens, insoluble particulates do not exhibit strong intrinsic antigenicity and thus are generally considered non-immunogenic. As a result, immune mechanisms in the pathogenic response to particles, fibers, and nanomaterials remain under-investigated. On the other hand, tissue and bone marrow-derived phagocytes, such as macrophages, are known to eliminate particles from the body. Progress has been made in understanding the role of immune cells and regulating molecules in the control of the physiological and pathological responses to injury and non-microbial stimuli, including particulates. To list a few, these include:

(i) the identification of pattern recognition receptors in the cellular recognition of damage-associated molecular patterns, as well as particles and nanomaterials;
(ii) the activation of inflammasomes by mineral or metabolite crystals;
(iii) the recognition of several forms of inflammation that are characterized and dictated by functionally polarized T lymphocytes, macrophages, and other immune cells;
(iv) the discovery of a number of active and programmed cellular and molecular processes, such as multiple forms of cell death, neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, resolution of acute inflammation, activation of tissue repair programs, and formation of tumor-promoting or tumor-suppressing microenvironments.

Research in these areas has emerged in recent years as new frontiers that bridge between immune functions and the pathogenic effects of particulates, providing mechanistic bases for many particulate-induced diseases.

In this Research Topic, we aim to provide an overview of recent progress in our understanding of immune mechanisms in the pathological response to particulates. We particularly welcome articles that provide new insight into the development of diseases and adverse effects caused by particulates exposure, including:
(i) Chronic inflammation
(ii) Autoimmune dysfunction
(iii) Cancer
(iv) Allergic response
(v) Adverse drug reaction
(vi) Fibrosis

Original Research, Review, Perspective, and Opinion articles that address these topics are welcome.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 November 2019 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 November 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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