Interleukin-22 protects against post-influenza bacterial superinfection

Researchers from the Pasteur Institute, Lille, France have shown in a mouse model that interleukin-22 protects against bacterial superinfections that can arise following influenza. Their research is published in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Virology.

Influenza A viral infection can lead to primary pneumonia and, later on, to serious complications including secondary and sepsis. Post-influenza bacterial superinfections that occur during seasonal epidemics and pandemics are of great concern to human health and impose a considerable socio-economic burden.

"It is therefore critical that we reach a better understanding of the causes of and potential treatments for post-influenza bacterial superinfection," says corresponding author François Trottein.

"Mouse studies have revealed that impairment of the host innate , as well as lung damage caused by the virus are cardinal features of bacterial superinfection," says Trottein. The authors tested the hypothesis that -22, an important cytokine implicated in mucosal immunity, inflammation and tissue repair, might play an important role during influenza.

The authors show that several cell types belonging to the produce interleukin-22 soon after infection. They also demonstrate that the lack of interleukin-22 aggravates the pathogenesis that develops in the lungs and in particular exacerbates epithelial damage caused by the virus. Furthermore, endogenous interleukin-22 displays a protective role during secondary bacterial (pneumococcus) infection in the mouse system.

Although the mechanisms sustaining the protective effect of interleukin-22 are not yet fully elucidated, the authors speculate that its beneficial effect is due to its role in the maintenance of epithelial integrity.

"If it works as well in humans, the production of interleukin-22 could confer a substantial benefit on patients having flu," says Trottein.

More information: S. Ivanov, J. Renneson, F. Trottein, et al. Interleukin-22 reduces lung inflammation during influenza A virus infection and protects against secondary bacterial infection. J. Virol. June 2013; 87:12 6911-6924. Published ahead of print17 April 2013. doi:10.1128/JVI.02943-12

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The impact of bacteria in our guts

14 hours ago

The word metabolism gets tossed around a lot, but it means much more than whether you can go back to the buffet for seconds without worrying about your waistline. In fact, metabolism is the set of biochemical ...

Stem cell therapies hold promise, but obstacles remain

14 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—In an article appearing online today in the journal Science, a group of researchers, including University of Rochester neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., review the potential and ch ...

New hope in fight against muscular dystrophy

15 hours ago

Research at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology offers hope to those who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable, debilitating disease that cuts young lives short.

Biologists reprogram skin cells to mimic rare disease

Aug 21, 2014

Johns Hopkins stem cell biologists have found a way to reprogram a patient's skin cells into cells that mimic and display many biological features of a rare genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia. ...

User comments