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J Infect Dis. 2010 Oct 1;202(7):991-1001. doi: 10.1086/656044.

Influenza virus-cytokine-protease cycle in the pathogenesis of vascular hyperpermeability in severe influenza.

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Division of Enzyme Chemistry, Institute for Enzyme Research, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.



Severe influenza is characterized by cytokine storm and multiorgan failure with edema. The aim of this study was to define the impact of the cytokine storm on the pathogenesis of vascular hyperpermeability in severe influenza.


Weanling mice were infected with influenza A WSN/33(H1N1) virus. The levels of proinflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, interleukin (IL) 6, IL-1beta, and trypsin were analyzed in the lung, brain, heart, and cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. The effects of transcriptional inhibitors on cytokine and trypsin expressions and viral replication were determined.


Influenza A virus infection resulted in significant increases in TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-1beta, viral hemagglutinin-processing protease trypsin levels, and viral replication with vascular hyperpermeability in lung and brain in the first 6 days of infection. Trypsin upregulation was suppressed by transcriptional inhibition of cytokines in vivo and by anti-cytokine antibodies in endothelial cells. Calcium mobilization and loss of tight junction constituent, zonula occludens-1, associated with cytokine- and trypsin-induced endothelial hyperpermeability were inhibited by a protease-activated receptor-2 antagonist and a trypsin inhibitor.


The influenza virus-cytokine-protease cycle is one of the key mechanisms of vascular hyperpermeability in severe influenza.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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