The commensal bacteria of the gut, essential for digestion and the overall well-being of the intestines, also play a critical role in mounting an immune response to the flu virus in the lungs.
The results, linkurl:published today;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1019378108 (March 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that antibiotic use could impair a person's ability to combat the seasonal virus. "This work is in line with an emergence of research about how much commensal [bacteria] affect not only the metabolism of a host, but also the immunity," said linkurl:Yasmine Belkaid,;http://www.niaid.nih.gov/labsandresources/labs/aboutlabs/lpd/mucosalimmunology/Pages/belkaid.aspx chief of the Mucosal Immunology Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "It's a very informative study."A team at the Yale University School of Medicine treated mice with combinations of antibiotics, then challenged them with the influenza virus. The animals exhibited a significantly impaired immune response, including reduced levels of...
Ichinohe, T., et al., "Microbiota regulates immune defense against respiratory tract influenza A virus infection," PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1019378108.
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