In the United States, influenza annually infects 5-20% of the population, causes >200,000 hospitalizations and 40,000 deaths. Avian H5N1 viruses are extremely virulent and cause pandemic disease. The current H1N1 pandemic has caused significant morbidity and mortality, and incurred major financial costs. The human and economic burden of influenza mandates improved methods of treatment and prevention. Our preliminary data show that expression of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in the lung provides remarkable protection against influenza A virus (IAV), and that resistance depends on alveolar macrophages. The mortality of IAV infection in SPC-GM transgenic mice that overexpress GM-CSF only in the lung was 0%, compared to 100% in wild-type mice. Furthermore, pulmonary delivery of GM-CSF to wild type mice abrogated mortality from IAV.
Data on how GM-CSF confers extraordinary resistance to IAV by enhancing innate immune mechanisms will be presented and the potential of GM-CSF to prevent and treat the tremendous morbidity and mortality of influenza infection will be discussed.
Please contact Debbie Couch for further information (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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