Researcher identifies new target to prevent fatal flu lung complication

Sep 29, 2009

Research led by Dr. Jay Kolls, Professor and Chairman of Genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has identified a therapeutic target for acute lung injury resulting in acute respiratory distress syndrome, a highly fatal complication of influenza infection.

The research, which will be published in The in October, is currently available in the Next in the JI section online.

Interleukin-17 (IL-17), an immune system cell involved in proinflammatory response, is a potent regulator of neutrophils (white blood cells). Following infection, IL-17 uses a signaling receptor called IL-17RA to direct large numbers of neutrophils to the infection. Neutrophils play a key role in the development of acute because they rapidly infiltrate the lung and are an important source of cytokines (immunomodulating agents), a byproduct of which is swelling, fluid in the lungs, and low levels of oxygen in the blood.

The research team wanted to determine whether blocking IL-17RA signaling would protect against following . Using an influenza model in control and knockout mice (genetically engineered without IL-17RA), they worked to identify a pathway to control the function of IL-17RA and the migration and action of neutrophils. They found decreased levels of illness and death among the IL-17RA knockout mice, despite a higher viral load. The researchers found that the knockout mice had fewer neutrophils in the lung, thus lower levels of inflammation and less lung injury. Comparing their results to studies of IL-17RA knockout mice in other models of viral infection, the researchers conclude that therapeutic regulation of IL-17 signaling may be beneficial not only in acute lung injury, but also in treating viral infections of other organs.

"Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu-related complications in the United States," notes Dr. Kolls. "A number of those who have died from H1N1 flu this year have had lung damage different than we typically see with seasonal flu. These cases have been marked by deep lung infections with diffuse damage to the alveoli - the structures that deliver oxygen to the blood. Advancing our findings has the potential to benefit both."

More information: http://0-www.jimmunol.org.innopac.lsuhsc.edu/cgi/reprint/jimmunol.0900995v1

Source: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Explore further: Novel marker discovered for stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Key to out-of-control immune response in lung injury found

Aug 16, 2007

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have discovered how a protein modulates the inflammatory response in sudden, life-threatening lung failure. The protein's previously unknown role is ...

New therapy protects lungs from runaway inflammation

Mar 11, 2009

A novel anti-inflammatory therapy designed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators prevents acute lung injury in mice exposed to an inflammation-causing toxin, the researchers report in the journal Molecular Th ...

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

14 hours ago

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies

14 hours ago

A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.