Send to

Choose Destination
Uirusu. 2006 Jun;56(1):85-9.

[Influenza virus receptors in the human airway].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

The Avian Zoonosis Research Centre, Tottori University.


Avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infections have resulted in more than 100 human deaths; yet, human-to-human transmission is rare. We demonstrated that the epithelial cells in the upper respiratory tract of humans mainly possess sialic acid linked to galactose by alpha 2,6 linkages (SA alpha 2,6Gal), a molecule preferentially recognized by human viruses. However, many cells in the respiratory bronchioles and alveoli possess SA alpha 2,3Gal, which is preferentially recognized by avian viruses. These facts are consistent with the observation that H5N1 viruses can be directly transmitted from birds to humans and cause serious lower respiratory tract damage in humans. Furthermore, this anatomical difference in receptor prevalence may explain why the spread of H5N1 viruses among humans is limited. However, since some H5N1 viruses isolated from humans recognize human virus receptors, additional changes must be required for these viruses to acquire the ability for efficient human-to-human transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for J-STAGE, Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator, Electronic
Loading ...
Support Center