Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Herpes Viruses, Pulmonary Disease / 20.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Tobias Stöger Group Leader, Dynamics of Pulmonary Inflammation Comprehensive Pneumology Center Institute of Lung Biology and Disease (iLBD) Helmholtz Zentrum München 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. (more…)