Investigating the adaptive immune response in influenza and secondary bacterial pneumonia and nanoparticle based therapeutic delivery
Chakravarthy, Krishnan V.
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In early 2000, influenza and its associated complications were the 7 th leading cause of death in the United States[1-4]. As of today, this major health problem has become even more of a concern, with the possibility of a potentially devastating avian flu (H5N1) or swine flu pandemic (H1N1). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 10 countries have reported transmission of influenza A (H5N1) virus to humans as of June 2006 . In response to this growing concern, the United States pledged over $334 million dollars in international aid for battling influenza[1-4]. The major flu pandemic of the early 1900's provided the first evidence that secondary bacterial pneumonia (not primary viral pneumonia) was the major cause of death in both community and hospital-based settings. Secondary bacterial infections currently account for 35-40% mortality following a primary influenza viral infection [1, 6]. The first component of this work addresses the immunological mechanisms that predispose patients to secondary bacterial infections following a primary influenza viral infection. By assessing host immune responses through various immune-modulatory tools, such as use of volatile anesthetics (i.e. halothane) and Apilimod/STA-5326 (an IL-12/Il-23 transcription blocker), we provide experimental evidence that demonstrates that the overactive adaptive Th1 immune response is critical in mediating increased susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections. We also present data that shows that suppressing the adaptive Th1 immune response enhances innate immunity, specifically in alveolar macrophages, by favoring a pro anti-bacterial phenotype. The second component of this work addresses the use of nanotechnology to deliver therapeutic modalities that affect the primary viral and associated secondary bacterial infections post influenza. First, we used surface functionalized quantum dots for selective targeting of lung alveolar macrophages both in vitro and in vivo. Second, we targeted human bronchial epithelial cells (A549) with gold nanoparticles complexed to 5'PPP-ssRNA to induce RIG-I cytoplasmic ligand, which results in induction of type 1 interferon and concomitant reduction in influenza viral replication. 1-6. Please see dissertation for all references.