Alveolar macrophages prevent lethal influenza pneumonia by inhibiting infection of Type-1 alveolar epithelial cells

The Influenza A virus (IAV) is a major human pathogen that produces significant morbidity and mortality. To explore the contribution of alveolar macrophages (AlvMΦs) in regulating the severity of IAV infection we employed a murine model in which the Core Binding Factor Beta gene is conditionally disrupted in myeloid cells. These mice exhibit a selective deficiency in AlvMΦs. Following IAV infection these AlvMΦ deficient mice developed severe diffuse alveolar damage, lethal respiratory compromise, and consequent lethality. Lethal injury in these mice resulted from increased infection of their Type-1 Alveolar Epithelial Cells (T1AECs) and the subsequent elimination of the infected T1AECs by the adaptive immune T cell response.

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