An advance toward a flu-fighting nasal spray

September 12, 2012
An advance toward a flu-fighting nasal spray

In an advance toward development of a nasal spray that protects against infection with influenza and spread of the disease, scientists are reporting identification of a substance that activates the first-line defense system against infection inside the nose. They describe effects of a synthetic form of a natural substance found in bacterial cell walls in ACS' journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

David C. Jackson and colleagues explain that the body's so-called innate immune system forms a first-line defense system against respiratory diseases like influenza A—which causes up to 1 billion infections and 500,000 deaths during seasonal epidemics. Those defenses swing into action almost immediately when viruses enter the nose and begin launching an infection. Scientists have been looking for ways to jump-start those defenses during , and Jackson's team turned to Pam2Cys. That synthetic lipoprotein, a substance consisting of a fat and a protein, has shown promise in activating the .

The team found in laboratory tests that using Pam2Cys as a nasal spray primes the body's immune system to fight infections. Importantly, they showed that the compound encourages but does not replace a normal immune response, which has been a concern about some anti-viral medicines. Because Pam2Cys stimulates the immune system against a wide spectrum of viral and bacterial attacks, the authors suggest it may be a particularly useful agent against pandemics and emerging .

Explore further: Both innate and adaptive immune responses are critical to the control of influenza

More information: "Intranasal Administration of the TLR2 Agonist Pam2Cys Provides Rapid Protection against Influenza in Mice" Mol. Pharmaceutics, 2012, 9 (9), pp 2710–2718. DOI: 10.1021/mp300257x

Abstract
The protective role played by the innate immune system during early stages of infection suggests that compounds which stimulate innate responses could be used as antimicrobial or antiviral agents. In this study, we demonstrate that the Toll-like receptor-2 agonist Pam2Cys, when administered intranasally, triggers a cascade of inflammatory and innate immune signals, acting as an immunostimulant by attracting neutrophils and macrophages and inducing secretion of IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, IFN-γ, MCP-1 and TNF-α. These changes provide increased resistance against influenza A virus challenge and also reduce the potential for transmission of infection. Pam2Cys treatment also reduced weight loss and lethality associated with virulent influenza virus infection in a Toll-like receptor-2-dependent manner. Treatment did not affect the animals' ability to generate an adaptive immune response, measured by the induction of functional influenza A virus-specific CD8+ T cells following exposure to virus. Because this compound demonstrates efficacy against distinct strains of influenza, it could be a candidate for development as an agent against influenza and possibly other respiratory pathogens.

Related Stories

Both innate and adaptive immune responses are critical to the control of influenza

June 28, 2012
Both innate and adaptive immune responses play an important role in controlling influenza virus infection, according to a study, published in the Open Access journal PLoS Computational Biology, by researchers from Oakland ...

Flu helps spread pneumonia

April 11, 2011
Bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis are only able to spread when individuals are infected with flu, says a scientist reporting at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate. The work could ...

Boosting the aged immune response to flu virus

November 21, 2011
As people age, their immune system becomes less robust. This makes them more susceptible to serious and frequently life-threatening infections with viruses that affect the respiratory tract such as influenza A virus (IAV). ...

Recommended for you

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.