Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New strategies against bird flu

21.04.2008
Austrian scientists identify the common mechanism underlying acute respiratory disease syndrome ARDS

The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 killed between 30 and 50 million people. In the infected patients, the ultimate cause of death was acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This fatal condition is a massive reaction of the body during which the lung becomes severely damaged. ARDS can be induced by various bacterial and viral infections, but also by chemical agents. These could be toxic gases that are inhaled or gastric acid when aspirated. Once ARDS has developed, survival rates drop dramatically. Among patients infected with H5N1 bird flu, about 50 percent die of ARDS.

An international team of scientists has been addressing the underlying disease mechanisms for the past five years. The team involved researchers from leading institutions in Vienna, Stockholm, Cologne, Beijing, Hongkong, and Toronto as well as the US-army at Fort Detrick. The international effort was coordinated by Josef Penninger and Yumiko Imai of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

A first breakthrough came in 2005 when IMBA-scientists identified ACE2 as the essential receptor for SARS virus infections and showed that ACE2 can protect from acute lung failure in disease models (Imai et al. Nature 2005; Kuba et al. Nature Medicine 2005). Based on these data, ACE2 is now under therapeutic development.

... more about:
»ARDS »Imai »TLR4 »acute »common »failure »flu

In a paper published by Cell this week, the authors describe an essential key injury pathway that is operational in multiple lung injuries and directly links oxidative stress to innate immunity. They also report for the first time a common molecular disease pathway explaining how diverse non-infectious and infectious agents such as anthrax, lung plague, SARS, and H5N1 avian influenza may cause severe and often lethal lung failure with similar pathologies.

To identify these pathways, the researchers studied numerous tissue samples from deceased humans and animals. Victims of bird flu and SARS were examined in Hongkong, and the US-army provided samples from animals infected with Anthrax and lung plague. Common to all ARDS samples was the massive amount of oxidation products found within the cells. Based on these findings, the scientists showed that oxidative stress is the common trigger that ultimately leads to lung failure.

To elucidate the entire pathway, Yumiko Imai of IMBA developed several mouse models. She was now able to show that a molecule called TLR4 (Toll-like receptor 4) is responsible for initiating the critical signalling pathway. TLR4 is displayed at the surface of certain lung cells called macrophages, important players of the body’s immune system. Once activated, TLR4 initiates an entire chain reaction which ends with the fatal failure of the lungs. Surprisingly, mice challenged with inactivated H5N1 avian influenza virus also dveloped the full reaction. On the other hand, mutant mice in which the function of TLR4 was genetically impaired were protected from lung failure in repsonse to the inactivated virus.

Based on these findings, the researchers can now outline a common molecular disease pathway: Microbial or chemical lung pathogens trigger the oxidative stress machinery. Oxidation products are intrepreted as danger-signals by the receptor TLR4. Subsequently, the body’s innate immune system is activated. This defense machinery in turn leads to a chain of reactions with severe and often fatal lung damage as a consequence.

For Yumiko Imai, a Postdoc in Josef Penninger’s team and pediatrician by training, these results are highly satisfying. Her motivation to study ARDS is based on personal experience in over 10 years at a pediatric intensive care unit. „I have seen so many children die from acute lung failure and felt utterly helpless“, Imai says. „ Since we found a common injury pathway, our hopes are high that we may be able to develop a new and innovative strategy for tackling severe lung infections.“

Dr. Heidemarie Hurtl | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http:// www.imba.oeaw.ac.at

Further reports about: ARDS Imai TLR4 acute common failure flu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>