Reduction of Natural Killer but Not Effector CD8 T Lymphoyctes in Three Consecutive Cases of Severe/Lethal H1N1/09 Influenza A Virus Infection

Laura Denney, Celia Aitken, Chris Ka-Fai Li, Eleri Wilson-Davies, Wai Ling Kok, Colin Clelland, Kevin Rooney, Duncan Young, Tao Dong, Andrew J. McMichael, William F. Carman, Ling-Pei Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
The cause of severe disease in some patients infected with pandemic influenza A virus is unclear.

Methodology/Principal Findings
We present the cellular immunology profile in the blood, and detailed clinical (and post-mortem) findings of three patients with rapidly progressive infection, including a pregnant patient who died. The striking finding is of reduction in natural killer (NK) cells but preservation of activated effector CD8 T lymphocytes; with viraemia in the patient who had no NK cells. Comparison with control groups suggests that the reduction of NK cells is unique to these severely ill patients.

Conclusion/Significance
Our report shows markedly reduced NK cells in the three patients that we sampled and raises the hypothesis that NK may have a more significant role than T lymphocytes in controlling viral burden when the host is confronted with a new influenza A virus subtype.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

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