Natural Killer Cells May Help Protect Against New Strains of Influenza Virus
*Swine Flu Outbreak Highlights Influenza Virus Research at Drexel University*
While no studies have been conducted on the specific H1N1 strain of influenza virus referred to as “swine flu,”
Using a mouse model of primary influenza virus infection, Dr.
Dr. Ritz: “NK cells are among the earliest responders to influenza virus infection and help control the infection, and because NK cells are non-specific in their response to influenza virus infection, they respond similarly no matter the source of the infection.”
Dr. Ritz and colleagues have also studied the importance of nutritional status and specific nutritional interventions to support NK cell activity in response to influenza virus infection.
Dr. Ritz: “Certain nutritional interventions, or nutraceuticals, appear to have a positive effect on the NK cell response to influenza virus infection.”
For example, Dr. Ritz has published several papers in the peer-reviewed journals Nutrition Research, Journal of Nutrition and Nutritional Reviews demonstrating that supplementation with a medicinal mushroom based compound called Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) increases the non-specific NK cell response to primary influenza virus infection, increases survival, and results in a less severe infection. This work was sponsored by Amino Up Chemical Company,
Dr Ritz cautions: “It remains unknown what, if any, effects these nutritional interventions would have on the immune response to swine flu.”
About the Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences, Drexel University: The Department of Biology at
About Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC): AHCC is a unique natural compound derived from the hybridization of several subspecies of medicinal mushrooms. AHCC is utilized by several hundred hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout
About Bovine Colostrum: Colostrum is the first lacteal secretions produced by a mammal prior to and just after giving birth. Colostrum is full of rich nutrients and immune factors that set babies on the path to health. Bovine colostrum is extremely similar to human colostrum in terms of digestibility and nutrients. At the same time, scientific studies have shown that colostrum’s highly prized immune and growth factors are found in greater quantities in bovine colostrum than in human.
References: Nogusa S, Gerbino J, Ritz BW. Low-dose supplementation with active hexose correlated compound improves the immune response to acute influenza infection in C57BL/6 mice. Nutr Res. 2009;29(3):139-43. Ritz BW. Supplementation with active hexose correlated compound increases survival following infectious challenge in mice. Nutr Rev. 2008;66(9):526-31. Ritz BW, Aktan I, Nogusa S, Gardner EM. Energy restriction impairs natural killer cell function and increases the severity of influenza infection in young adult C57BL/6 male mice. J Nutr. 2008;138:2269-2275. Nogusa S, Ritz BW, Kassim SH, Jennings SR, Gardner EM. Characterization of age-related changes in natural killer cells during primary influenza infection in mice. Mech Age Devel. 2008;129:223-30. Ritz BW, Nogusa S, Ackerman EA, Gardner EM. Supplementation with Active Hexose Correlated Compound increases the innate immune response of young mice to primary Influenza Infection. J Nutr. 2006;136:2868-73.
SOURCE AHCC Research Association