The immune profile associated with acute allergic asthma accelerates clearance of influenza virus.

Samarasinghe AE, Woolard SN, Boyd KL, Hoselton SA, Schuh JM, McCullers JA
Immunol Cell Biol. 2014 92 (5): 449-59

PMID: 24469764 · PMCID: PMC4037497 · DOI:10.1038/icb.2013.113

Asthma was the most common comorbidity in hospitalized patients during the 2009 influenza pandemic. For unknown reasons, hospitalized asthmatics had less severe outcomes and were less likely to die from pandemic influenza. Our data with primary human bronchial cells indicate that changes intrinsic to epithelial cells in asthma may protect against cytopathology induced by influenza virus. To further study influenza virus pathogenesis in allergic hosts, we aimed to develop and characterize murine models of asthma and influenza comorbidity to determine structural, physiological and immunological changes induced by influenza in the context of asthma. Aspergillus fumigatus-sensitized and -challenged C57BL/6 mice were infected with pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, either during peak allergic inflammation or during airway remodeling to gain insight into disease pathogenesis. Mice infected with the influenza virus during peak allergic inflammation did not lose body weight and cleared the virus rapidly. These mice exhibited high eosinophilia, preserved airway epithelial cell integrity, increased mucus, reduced interferon response and increased insulin-like growth factor-1. In contrast, weight loss and viral replication kinetics in the mice that were infected during the late airway remodeling phase were equivalent to flu-only controls. These mice had neutrophils in the airways, damaged airway epithelial cells, less mucus production, increased interferons and decreased insulin-like growth factor-1. The state of the allergic airways at the time of influenza virus infection alters host responses against the virus. These murine models of asthma and influenza comorbidity may improve our understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of viral infections in humans with asthma.

MeSH Terms (14)

Acute Disease Animals Asthma Chronic Disease Disease Models, Animal Female Host-Pathogen Interactions Humans Influenza, Human Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype Interferons Mice Orthomyxoviridae Infections Respiratory Mucosa

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