Haemophilus influenzae and oxidative stress

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2012 Mar 28:2:40. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2012.00040. eCollection 2012.


Haemophilus influenzae is a commensal of the human upper respiratory tract. H. influenzae can, however, move out of its commensal niche and cause multiple respiratory tract diseases. Such diseases include otitis media in young children, as well as exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and bronchitis. During the course of colonization and infection, H. influenzae must withstand oxidative stress generated by multiple reactive oxygen species produced endogenously, by other co-pathogens and by host cells. H. influenzae has, therefore, evolved multiple mechanisms that protect the cell against oxygen-generated stresses. In this review, we will describe these systems relative to the well-described systems in Escherichia coli. Moreover, we will compare how H. influenzae combats the effect of oxidative stress as a necessary phenotype for its roles as both a successful commensal and pathogen.

Keywords: Haemophilus influenzae; catalase; oxidative stress; superoxide.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Haemophilus influenzae / drug effects
  • Haemophilus influenzae / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / toxicity
  • Stress, Physiological*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species