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The lung is a complex structure that is interdigitated with immune cells. Understanding the 4D process of normal and defective lung function and immunity has been a centuries-old problem. Challenges intrinsic to the lung have limited adequate microscopic evaluation of its cellular dynamics in real time, until recently. Because of emerging technologies, we now recognize alveolar-to-airway transport of inhaled antigen. We understand the nature of neutrophil entry during lung injury and are learning more about cellular interactions during inflammatory states. Insights are also accumulating in lung development and the metastatic niche of the lung. Here we assess the developing technology of lung imaging, its merits for studies of pathophysiology and areas where further advances are needed.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Immunol

Publication Date





379 - 386


Animals, Cell Communication, Humans, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Inflammation, Lung, Lung Neoplasms, Organogenesis