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PDL-1 antibody could help immune system fight off influenza viral infection, study suggests
Date:12/23/2013

An antibody that blocks a component of a key signaling pathway in the respiratory airways could help the immune system rid the body of the influenza virus, a new study suggests. The findings, from a team at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, not only offer a new approach to treating the flu, but also add new information about how the immune system responds to respiratory viral infections.

In this new work, published in the December issue of the Journal of Virology and highlighted in the journal Spotlight section, researchers examined the role a protein called programmed cell death receptor (PD-1) plays in the immune response to influenza virus. PD-1 is known to inhibit the function of T cells, the immune system's first line of defense against intracellular pathogens. While scientists have looked intently at PD-1 activity in chronic viral infections such as hepatitis and HIV, its involvement in acute infections was thought by many to be minor.

Emilio Flao, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Vaccines and Immunity, disagreed. Several small studies in his lab had raised the possibility that PD-1 and its associated ligand PDL-1 were actually very important to the immune response to acute infection.

The researchers' earlier studies had shown that when PD-1 protein was expressed, but its ligand PDL-1 was not, the protein couldn't bind to T cells to inhibit the immune response. So, for this study, the scientists treated mice infected with influenza virus with an antibody that blocks the activity of PDL-1. Viral levels began to drop within three days of treatment with the PDL-1 antibody, which was administered intranasally. At day five, the viral levels were undetectable.

"The PDL-1 blockade is not directly acting on the virus," Dr. Flao says. "It is acting on the T cells, improving their function so that the immune system can fight the virus."

When they examined the PD-1/PDL-1 resp
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Contact: Mary Ellen Peacock
maryellen.peacock@nationwidechildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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