Role of apoptosis and cytokines in influenza virus morbidity


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Influenza virus is a major human pathogen that causes epidemics and pandemics with increased morbidity and, especially in the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, increased mortality. Influenza is characterised by respiratory symptoms and constitutional symptoms. Whilst knowledge of the mechanisms underlying host and tissue specificity has advanced considerably of late we still know relatively little about other aspects of influenza virus virulence. In this review, we will explore what is known about the role of apoptosis in respiratory epithelial cell damage and the role of cytokines in inflammation and constitutional symptoms with particular emphasis on the link between apoptosis, inflammation, fever and cytokine production.