Immunity and immunopathology to viruses: what decides the outcome?

Nat Rev Immunol. 2010 Jul;10(7):514-26. doi: 10.1038/nri2802.


Many viruses infect humans and most are controlled satisfactorily by the immune system with limited damage to host tissues. Some viruses, however, do cause overt damage to the host, either in isolated cases or as a reaction that commonly occurs after infection. The outcome is influenced by properties of the infecting virus, the circumstances of infection and several factors controlled by the host. In this Review, we focus on host factors that influence the outcome of viral infection, including genetic susceptibility, the age of the host when infected, the dose and route of infection, the induction of anti-inflammatory cells and proteins, as well as the presence of concurrent infections and past exposure to cross-reactive agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Models, Immunological
  • Virus Diseases / etiology
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / pathology*
  • Viruses / immunology*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity


  • Cytokines