Immune responses during infection with pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A virus (2009-H1N1) are still poorly understood. Using an experimental infection model in ferrets, we examined the pathological features and characterized the host immune responses by using microarray analysis, during infection with 2009-H1N1 A/California/07/2009 and seasonal A/Brisbane/59/2007. Chemokines CCL2, CCL8, CXCL7 and CXCL10 along with the majority of interferon-stimulated genes were expressed early, correlated to lung pathology, and abruptly decreased expression on day 7 following infection of A/California/07/2009. Interestingly, the drop in innate immune gene expression was replaced by a significant increase of the adaptive immune genes for granzymes and immunoglobulins. Serum anti-influenza antibodies were first observed on day 7, commensurate with the viral clearance. We propose that lung pathology in humans occurs during the innate phase of host immunity and a delay or failure to switch to the adaptive phase may contribute to morbidity and mortality during severe 2009-H1N1 infections.
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