Energy intake and response to infection with influenza

Annu Rev Nutr. 2011 Aug 21;31:353-67. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-081810-160812.


Influenza is a worldwide public health concern, particularly with emerging new strains of influenza to which vaccines are ineffective, limited, or unavailable. In addition, the relationship between adequate nutrition and immune function has been repeatedly demonstrated. Mouse models provide strong evidence that energy extremes, including energy restriction (ER) and diet-induced obesity (DIO), have deleterious effects on the immune response to influenza infection. Both ER and DIO mice demonstrate increased susceptibility and mortality to influenza infection. The effects of ER are more pronounced during innate responses to influenza infection, whereas the effects of DIO are evidenced during innate and adaptive responses to both primary and secondary infection. There are striking similarities between ER and DIO during influenza infection, including impaired natural killer cell function and altered inflammation. Future studies must develop effective nutritional paradigms to offset the effects of these energy extremes on the immune response to an acute infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction / adverse effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Energy Intake*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Influenza, Human / diet therapy*
  • Influenza, Human / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / metabolism
  • Influenza, Human / physiopathology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / diet therapy
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / metabolism
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / physiopathology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diet therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Viral / physiopathology


  • Cytokines