+44 1223 790975
Nepean Hospital, Australia
Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Australia
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Virol Mycol
Respiratory tract viral infections, including influenza, are a major global public health threat. Currently, there is no reliable way to stratify the exposed populations to identify those at high risk of developing complications. Seasonal influenza infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality resulting in estimated 250000-500000 deaths worldwide every year. It affects up to 20% of the population and results in approximately 3-5 million yearly cases of severe illness. There is a need for further research to help predict who will become sick and possibly die, versus those who will not. The goal of this project was to use molecular techniques to identify a marker associated with severe influenza infection and to elucidate its mechanism of action in host immune cells. Microarray results performed in our lab have confirmed that the level of Interferon-alpha inducible gene 27 (IFI27) RNA in blood from severe influenza infected patients was significantly increased compared with that of the healthy controls. IFI27 expression was increased by common strains of influenza virus and correlated significantly with clinical severity. Further data showed that IFI27 expression was unaffected by non-viral conditions such as bacterial infection and SIRS. In vitro validation has confirmed that IFI27 expression was produced predominantly by pDCs, a pivotal immune cell subset that links innate immunity with adaptive immunity. This response was mediated via the TLR7-interferon-�?± pathway, found mainly in pDCs. In conclusion measuring IFI27 gene-expression level may assist risk stratification of infected patients in future influenza pandemics.