Influenza can cause viral pneumonia in humans, leading to lung failure. The virus damages the alveolar epithelial cells, which release molecular attractants to bring immune cells to the site of infection. Until recently, the identity of these immune attractants was unknown.
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Suzanne Herold at the University of Giessen report that alveolar cells produce granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) to drive the accumulation of immune cells in a mouse model of influenza-associated pneumonia.
GM-CSF protected mice against influenza infection, while loss of GM-SCF compromised their immune response and resulted in a more severe lung infection. These results suggest that GM-CSF is crucial for protection and recovery from influenza-mediated lung injury and has implications for treatment of influenza-associated pneumonia.
“Alveolar epithelial cells orchestrate DC function in murine viral pneumonia”
UGLC, Giessen, UNK, DEU