Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Discover Influenza's Achilles Heel: Antioxidants

Date:
October 30, 2009
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
As the nation copes with a shortage of vaccines for H1N1 influenza, a team of Alabama researchers have raised hopes that they have found an Achilles' heel for all strains of the flu -- antioxidants. In a new study, they show that antioxidants -- the same substances found in plant-based foods -- might hold the key in preventing the flu virus from wreaking havoc on our lungs.

This digitally-colorized negative-stained transmission electron micograph (TEM) depicted a number of influenza A virions.
Credit: CDC/F. A. Murphy

As the nation copes with a shortage of vaccines for H1N1 influenza, a team of Alabama researchers have raised hopes that they have found an Achilles' heel for all strains of the flu -- antioxidants.

Related Articles


In an article appearing in the November 2009 print issue of the FASEB Journal, they show that antioxidants -- the same substances found in plant-based foods -- might hold the key in preventing the flu virus from wreaking havoc on our lungs.

"The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid spread of this strain across the world highlights the need to better understand how this virus damages the lungs and to find new treatments," said Sadis Matalon, co-author of the study. "Additionally, our research shows that antioxidants may prove beneficial in the treatment of flu."

Matalon and colleagues showed that the flu virus damages our lungs through its "M2 protein," which attacks the cells that line the inner surfaces of our lungs (epithelial cells). Specifically, the M2 protein disrupts lung epithelial cells' ability to remove liquid from inside of our lungs, setting the stage for pneumonia and other lung problems. The researchers made this discovery by conducting three sets of experiments using the M2 protein and the lung protein they damage.

First, frog eggs were injected with the lung protein alone to measure its function. Second, researchers injected frog eggs with both the M2 protein and the lung protein and found that the function of the lung protein was significantly decreased. Using molecular biology techniques, scientists isolated the segment of the M2 protein responsible for the damage to the lung protein. Then they demonstrated that without this segment, the protein was unable to cause damage. Third, the full M2 protein (with the "offending" segment intact) and the lung protein were then re-injected into the frog eggs along with drugs known to remove oxidants. This too prevented the M2 protein from causing damage to the lung protein. These experiments were repeated using cells from human lungs with exactly the same results.

"Although vaccines will remain the first line of intervention against the flu for a long time to come, this study opens the door for entirely new treatments geared toward stopping the virus after you're sick," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "and as Thanksgiving approaches, this discovery is another reason to drink red wine to your health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ahmed Lazrak, Karen E. Iles, Gang Liu, Diana L. Noah, James W. Noah, and Sadis Matalon. Influenza virus M2 protein inhibits epithelial sodium channels by increasing reactive oxygen species. The FASEB Journal, 2009; DOI: 10.1096/fj.09-135590

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Scientists Discover Influenza's Achilles Heel: Antioxidants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029125538.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2009, October 30). Scientists Discover Influenza's Achilles Heel: Antioxidants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029125538.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Scientists Discover Influenza's Achilles Heel: Antioxidants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029125538.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins