Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory airway disease whose incidence and mortality increases every year. COPD is characterized by irreversible airflow limitation based on obstructive bronchiolitis and emphysema. It is associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lung to toxic particles or gases, such as cigarette smoke. Recently, an increasing body of evidence has been accumulated for a link between inflammation and autoimmunity in the development of COPD. The idea that autoimmunity could contribute to the development of COPD provides a new angle to understand the pathogenesis of the disease. However, the non-physiological stress caused by environmental factors such as cigarette smoking is linked to the inflammatory process and autoimmunity, and all these factors may contribute to the occurrence of exacerbation in COPD. It will be demonstrated some evidences that support this paradigm and the need to invest in research in this area.
Moreira Santos TM