A specialized subset of lung cells can shake flu infection, yet they remain stamped with an inflammatory gene signature that wreaks havoc in the lung, according to a study published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Club cells are specialized cells that normally protect against inhaled microbes and pollutants. However, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York show that club cells are bad guys during flu infection.
Although they are able to rid themselves of the flu virus, club cells fail to switch off expression of inflammatory genes causing prolonged pathology in the lungs even after the virus has been contained. Depletion of surviving club cells lessened destructive lung damage in flu-infected mice.
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