How influenza drives asthma

Specialized cells of the innate immune system, identified in the lungs for the first time, play a central role in virus-induced asthma

Megan Scudellari
May 28, 2011
Viral respiratory infection causes severe asthma attacks in almost all patients with asthma -- a reaction classically attributed to T cells of the adaptive immune system. Now, scientists have identified a pathway in mice by which a subset of innate immune cells, found in mammalian lungs for the first time, orchestrate influenza-induced asthma.
Influenza A virus
Source: linkurl:CDC;http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/images.htm?s_cid=cs_001
The discovery, published online today in linkurl:Nature Immunology,;http://www.nature.com/ni/index.html suggests the innate immune system, and not just the adaptive immune system, triggers asthma attacks after viral infections. The cells, plus a newly identified pathway by which the cells are activated, could provide novel targets for therapies to control viral-induced asthma attacks, which fail to respond to conventional asthma medications, the authors write.The research is "fresh and engaging," said linkurl:Gary Anderson,;http://www.pharmacology.unimelb.edu.au/research/LungDisease.html who studies lung disease at the University of Melbourne in Australia and wasn't involved in the research, in an email. But,...
Y. Chang, et al., "Innate lymphoid cells mediate influenza-induced airway hyper-reactivity independently of adaptive immunity," Nat Immun, doi: 10.1038/ni.2045, 2011.



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