The proteins of the secretoglobin (SCGB) family are expressed by secretory tissues of barrier organs. They are embedded in immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory processes of airway diseases. This review particularly illustrates the immune regulation of SCGBs by cytokines and their implication in the pathophysiology of airway diseases. The biology of SCGBs is a complex topic of increasing importance, as they are highly abundant in the respiratory tract and can also be detected in malignant tissues and as elements of immune control. In addition, SCGBs react to cytokines, they are embedded in Th1 and Th2 immune responses, and they are expressed in a manner dependent on cell maturation. The big picture of the SCGB family identifies these factors as critical elements of innate immune control at the epithelial barriers and highlights their potential for diagnostic assessment of epithelial activity. Some members of the SCGB family have so far only been superficially examined, but have high potential for translational research.
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