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      Lethal synergism between influenza virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae: characterization of a mouse model and the role of platelet-activating factor receptor.

      The Journal of Infectious Diseases

      Animals, Disease Models, Animal, Female, Lung, microbiology, pathology, virology, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Orthomyxoviridae, metabolism, pathogenicity, Orthomyxoviridae Infections, complications, Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins, physiology, Pneumonia, Pneumococcal, Pyridinium Compounds, pharmacology, Receptors, Cell Surface, Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled, Streptococcus pneumoniae

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          A lethal synergism exists between influenza virus and pneumococcus, which likely accounts for excess mortality from secondary bacterial pneumonia during influenza epidemics. Characterization of a mouse model of synergy revealed that influenza infection preceding pneumococcal challenge primed for pneumonia and led to 100% mortality. This effect was specific for viral infection preceding bacterial infection, because reversal of the order of administration led to protection from influenza and improved survival. The hypothesis that influenza up-regulates the platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFr) and thereby potentiates pneumococcal adherence and invasion in the lung was examined in the model. Groups of mice receiving CV-6209, a competitive antagonist of PAFr, had survival rates similar to those of control mice, and lung and blood bacterial titers increased during PAFr inhibition. These data suggest that PAFr-independent pathways are operative in the model, prompting further study of receptor interactions during pneumonia and bacteremia. The model of lethal synergism will be a useful tool for exploring this and other mechanisms underlying viral-bacterial interactions.

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