Posted on Nov 04, 2009, 6 a.m.
Antioxidant compounds retard the ability of influenza virus to damage a key protein in lungs, crippling the viral mechanism causing liquid buildup in lung tissue.
In that liquid buildup in lung tissue as a result of influenza infection can cause permanent damage to the lungs and set the stage for pneumonia and other serious lung problems, Sadis Matalon, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Alabama, USA), and colleagues have elucidated the role of the flu virus on the M2 protein and other key proteins present in lung cells. In laboratory models of influenza, the team found that an isolated segment of the M2 protein causes damage to lung protein, and that antioxidant compounds prevented the M2 protein from causing this damage. Explaining that: “Influenza virus M2 protein inhibits epithelial sodium channels by increasing reactive oxygen species,” the researchers submit that “these novel findings suggest a mechanism for the influenza-induced rhinorrhea and life-threatening alveolar edema in humans.”
Ahmed Lazrak, Karen E. Iles, Gang Liu, Diana L. Noah, James W. Noah, Sadis Matalon. Influenza virus M2 protein inhibits epithelial sodium channels by increasing reactive oxygen species.” FASEB J. 2009 23: 3829-3842; published online as doi:10.1096/fj.09-135590.