Influenza A viral infections claim millions of lives worldwide and continue to impose a major burden on healthcare systems. Current pharmacological strategies to control influenza A virus-induced lung disease are problematic owing to antiviral resistance and the requirement for strain-specific vaccination. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), particularly superoxide, is an important host defence mechanism for killing invading pathogens. However, excessive superoxide may be detrimental following influenza A virus infection. Indeed, suppression of superoxide production by targeting the primary enzymatic source of superoxide in mammalian inflammatory cells, NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2), markedly alleviates influenza A virus-induced lung injury and virus replication, irrespective of the infecting strain. Therefore, we propose that Nox2 oxidase inhibitors, in combination with current therapeutics (i.e. antivirals and vaccines), could be useful for suppression of influenza A virus-induced lung disease.
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