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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Flu infection has long-ranging effects

From the Rockefeller University Press  4 November 2014 press release

English: Main symptoms of influenza. (See Wiki...

English: Main symptoms of influenza. (See Wikipedia:#Influenza#Symptoms_and_diagnosis). Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams References Centers for Disease Control and Prevention > Influenza Symptoms Page last updated November 16, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2009 (Diarrhea is not mentioned, since it is mainly a symptom in children) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flu infection has long-ranging effects beyond the lung that can wreak havoc in the gut and cause a dreaded symptom, diarrhea, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are often seen with flu infection, but because the virus only grows in lung cells, it’s unclear how intestinal symptoms develop. Researchers in China now show that flu infection in mice prompts responding immune cells in the lung to alter their homing receptors, causing them to migrate to the gut. Once there, they produce the antiviral mediator IFN-γ, which alters the natural composition of gut bacteria. In turn, the bacterial changes lead to inflammation that promotes tissue injury and diarrhea. Blocking inflammatory molecules in the intestine or treating mice with antibiotics to deplete bacteria attenuated flu-induced intestinal injury without affecting immune responses in the lung.

Why some flu infected patients develop gastrointestinal symptoms while others do not remains unknown. However, these findings suggest ways to directly relieve intestinal symptoms like diarrhea during flu infection without interfering with the body’s ability to fight the virus in the lung.

Reference: Wang, J., et al. 2014. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20140625

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November 9, 2014 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , ,

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