Understanding the role of host response in influenza pneumonitis

  • Benjamin M. Tang
  • Carl G. Feng
  • Anthony S. McLeanEmail author
Understanding the Disease


Most influenza-related deaths are caused by influenza pneumonitis, a serious complication of influenza virus infection characterised by uncontrolled lung inflammation, acute lung injury and respiratory failure. This serious complication has a high mortality risk (18–32%) [1]. The currently available antiviral therapy (e.g. neuraminidase inhibitor) has limited efficacy in reducing fatality caused by influenza pneumonitis.

Host factors, in additional to viral factors, are important in determining patient outcomes in influenza pneumonitis [2, 3]. A better understanding of the host factors associated with severe disease is therefore needed; it may help discover pathogenic pathways that determine disease progression and enable researchers identify new therapeutic targets. Here, we examine the immune cells underpinning the host response to influenza infection.

Innate immune cells

Alveolar macrophages in lungs are involved in the first line of defence. Following phagocytosis of...



We thank Andrew Sawyer for his graphic design of Fig. 1.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

On behalf of all the authors the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care MedicineNepean HospitalKingswoodAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Immunology and Allergy ResearchWestmead Institute for Medical ResearchWestmeadAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Sydney Medical SchoolUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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