Nanoparticles From Pollution Can Awaken Dormant Herpes Viruses in Lungs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Tobias Stöger Group Leader, Dynamics of Pulmonary Inflammation Comprehensive Pneumology Center Institute of Lung Biology and Disease (iLBD) Helmholtz Zentrum München

Dr. Tobias Stöger

Dr. Tobias Stöger
Group Leader, Dynamics of Pulmonary Inflammation
Comprehensive Pneumology Center
Institute of Lung Biology and Disease (iLBD)
Helmholtz Zentrum München 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Particulate air pollution is common in urban areas and the inhalation of nanoparticles is known to trigger inflammatory effects in humans potentially altering the immune system.

Herpes viruses are ubiquitous and well adapted pathogens hiding in host cells and persist thus continuing in a greater part of our population.

Under certain stress conditions and if the immune system becomes weakened, the viruses can become active again, begin to proliferate and destroy the host cell.

Thus we raised the question whether NP-exposure of persistently herpesvirus-infected cells as a second hit might provoke reactivation of latent virus and eventually lead to an inflammatory response and tissue damage.

Our main finding is that NP-exposure of persistently herpesvirus-infected cells – murine or human – restores molecular signatures found in acute virus infection and boosts production of lytic viral proteins.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: A particle inhalation triggered production of lytic viral proteins, in addition to the pro-inflammatory effect of the particles themselves, the viral reactivation may enhance the inflammatory response in the lung such that the combination might finally result in tissue damage and pathological alterations. This might particularly be worrying for repeated exposure scenarios such as at work places or episodes of high pollution.

We however need to stress here, that our current study is only a first step and used very high dose rates. Future studies will have to test whether more realistic exposures such as observed under inhalation conditions also trigger this kind of boosts production of lytic viral proteins.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future studies shall on one hand use more ‘real world’ exposure scenarios, with different doses of ambient or workplace samples to appreciate the potential endangerment for exposed people. On the other hand, and since persistent herpesvirus-infection have been associated with chronic lung disease, future long term and repeated exposure studies should examine a potential development of chronic lung diseases due to the combination.

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Citation:

Christine Sattler, Franco Moritz, Shanze Chen, Beatrix Steer, David Kutschke, Martin Irmler, Johannes Beckers, Oliver Eickelberg, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, Heiko Adler, Tobias Stoeger. Nanoparticle exposure reactivates latent herpesvirus and restores a signature of acute infectionParticle and Fibre Toxicology, 2017; 14 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12989-016-0181-1

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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