Obesity worsens the outcome of influenza virus infection associated with impaired type I interferon induction in mice

Ho Namkoong, Makoto Ishii, Hideki Fujii, Takahiro Asami, Kazuma Yagi, Shoji Suzuki, Shuhei Azekawa, Sadatomo Tasaka, Naoki Hasegawa, Tomoko Betsuyaku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing evidence indicates that obesity is a risk factor for increased severity of influenza virus infection. However, its precise immunological mechanism is not fully understood. To investigate this, diet-induced obese (DIO)mice were established by feeding C57BL/6 male mice a high-fat diet for 16 weeks. DIO and lean control mice were infected intranasally with 3000 pfu of influenza A virus (IAV)(PR8/H1N1). Interestingly, we found adipose tissue located along the bronchus in naïve DIO mice. In addition, the Nos2 level was significantly higher and Arg1 level was significantly lower in lung macrophages of naïve DIO mice, consistent with an M1-skewed phenotype. The survival rate and body weight of DIO mice infected with IAV were significantly lower than those of lean control mice and associated with higher viral load in the lungs of DIO mice. Histopathological analysis demonstrated higher numbers of inflammatory cells in the lungs of DIO mice after IAV infection. Levels of cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, and type I IFN (IFN-α and IFN-β), in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF)were altered after IAV infection; in particular, IFN-α and IFN-β levels were significantly suppressed in the BALF of DIO mice. In vitro, bone marrow-derived macrophages were stimulated with ligands of toll-like receptor (TLR)7/8, a pattern recognition receptor for single-stranded RNA, and levels of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 were similarly altered. In addition, levels of IFN-α and IFN-β were significantly lower in culture supernatants of alveolar macrophages sorted from naïve DIO mice and infected with IAV, compared to those in macrophages sorted from lean control mice. Collectively, these results suggest that macrophages may be the main contributors to poor outcomes of influenza virus infection in obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 28


  • Alveolar macrophages
  • Diet-induced obesity
  • Influenza
  • Type I interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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