Nav: Home

Influenza: combating bacterial superinfection with the help of the microbiota

March 03, 2020

Researchers from the Lille Centre for Infection and Immunity (CNRS/INSERM/Institut Pasteur de Lille/University of Lille/CHU Lille), INRAE and from Brazilian (Belo Horizonte), Scottish (Glasgow) and Danish (Copenhagen) laboratories have shown for the first time in mice that perturbation of the gut microbiota caused by the influenza virus favours secondary bacterial superinfection. Published in Cell Reports on March 3, 2020, these results open up new prospects for the prevention and treatment of bacterial pneumonia, a major cause of death in elderly or vulnerable people infected with the influenza virus.

Influenza and its complications continue to be a significant public health concern as well as a major social and economic burden. Vaccination campaigns, together with the discovery of new antiviral therapies, provide preventive and therapeutic solutions. However, impairment of defence mechanisms against secondary bacterial infections, which considerably worsen the clinical picture of people with influenza, remains a major problem.

Specializing in the field of pulmonary immunity, a team led by François Trottein, a CNRS researcher at the Lille Centre for Infection and Immunity focused on the gut microbiota, well known for their key role in many physiological processes, including immune defence mechanisms. Scientists have shown that, in mice, influenza temporarily alters the composition and metabolic activity of the gut microbiota, probably due to reduced food consumption during illness. During influenza, the production of short-chain fatty acids by the bacteria of the microbiota is also diminished. The team has now shown that these fatty acids remotely favour the bactericidal activity of macrophages present in the lungs. Perturbation of the intestinal microbiota by influenza thus compromises lung defences, particularly against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia in humans.

The researchers also showed that this sensitivity to bacterial superinfection can be corrected by treatment with acetate, one of the main short-chain fatty acids produced by the microbiota. Their work could have practical applications for the well-being of infected patients, who would be better protected against influenza-related complications. This work was made in collaboration with scientists from the Micalis Institute (INRAE/AgroParistech/Université Saclay), the Lille Inflammation Research International Center (INSERM/Université de Lille/CHU Lille), the Laboratory of Design and Application of Bioactive Molecules (CNRS/University of Strasbourg), the Molecular Virology and Immunology Unit (INRAE) and GenoScreen (Lille), the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology (Glasgow, Scotland) and the Department of Pharmacology (University of Copenhagen, Denmark). This discovery represents a major breakthrough in the understanding of the mechanisms behind bacterial superinfections in influenza patients. It could lead to the development of new nutritional and/or therapeutic strategies to better control bacterial infections.


Related Influenza Articles:

Obesity promotes virulence of influenza
Obesity promotes the virulence of the influenza virus, according to a study conducted in mice published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Influenza: combating bacterial superinfection with the help of the microbiota
Frenc researchers and from Brazilian (Belo Horizonte), Scottish (Glasgow) and Danish (Copenhagen) laboratories have shown for the first time in mice that perturbation of the gut microbiota caused by the influenza virus favours secondary bacterial superinfection.
Chemists unveil the structure of an influenza B protein
MIT chemists have discovered the structure of an influenza B protein called BM2, a finding that could help researchers design drugs that block the protein and help prevent the virus from spreading.
How proteins help influenza A bind and slice its way to cells
Researchers have provided new insight on how two proteins help influenza A virus particles fight their way to human cells.
Eating elderberries can help minimize influenza symptoms
Conducted by Professor Fariba Deghani, Dr. Golnoosh Torabian and Dr.
Mechanism to form influenza A virus discovered
A new study by Maria João Amorim's team, from the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, now reveals where the genomes of the influenza A virus are assembled inside infected cells.
Bat influenza viruses could infect humans
Bats don't only carry the deadly Ebola virus, but are also a reservoir for a new type of influenza virus.
New VaxArray publication on influenza neuraminidase quantification
InDevR Inc. announced publication of 'A Neuraminidase Potency Assay for Quantitative Assessment of Neuraminidase in Influenza Vaccines' in npj Vaccines.
Fighting mutant influenza
Another flu season is here, which means another chance for viruses to mutate.
Influenza vaccine delays are a problem for pediatricians
Uptake of influenza vaccine among children is low compared to other childhood vaccines, and missed opportunities for vaccination play an important role in this low uptake.
More Influenza News and Influenza Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at