A benefit of flu: protection from asthma?

December 13, 2010

The number of people with asthma has increased sharply over the past few decades. It has been suggested that this is a result of decreased childhood exposure to microorganisms. A team of researchers -- led by Dale Umetsu, at Harvard Medical School, Boston; Michio Shimamura, at the University of Tsukuba, Japan; and Petr Illarionov, at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom -- has now provided concrete evidence in mice to support this idea and identified an underlying mechanism to explain this protection, which the team hope could be exploited to develop ways to prevent asthma.

In the study, infection of suckling mice with influenza A virus protected the mice as adults in a model of asthma. Protection was associated with the expansion of a subset of immune cells known as NKT cells. Importantly, NKT cell-mediated protection in the model of asthma studied could also be induced by treating suckling mice with a molecule derived from the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The authors therefore suggest that treating children with therapeutics that activate the NKT cell population might prevent the development of asthma.
TITLE: Influenza infection in suckling mice expands an NKT cell subset that protects against airway hyperreactivity

Dale T. Umetsu
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Phone: 617.919.2439; Fax: 617.730.0384; E-mail: dale.umetsu@childrens.harvard.edu.

Michio Shimamura
University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Phone: 81.29.853.4527; Fax: 81.29.853.4507; E-mail: michio@chem.tsukuba.ac.jp.

Petr Illarionov
University of Birmingham School of Biosciences, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Phone: 44.121.4158123; Fax: 44.121.4145925; E-mail: illar@yahoo.com.

View this article at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/44845?key=a64000b8748341132a37

JCI Journals

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.