Joseph Reynolds, PhD
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2015-2016)
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Funded by the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
Cytokine Proteins May Help Boost Immune Response to Influenza
Influenza virus infection is an important global health threat that is in need of improved treatment. Many people suffer severe and sometimes deadly complications following influenza infection, especially the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. We will study proteins called cytokines for their role in severe influenza infection. We will focus on two cytokine proteins, IL-17 and IL-17B, which have poorly understood roles in the establishment of lung inflammation and the immune response against invading infectious organisms. We will investigate whether IL-17 cytokines promote improved immune responses to influenza. Our research may lead to new treatments for inflammation-based respiratory disorders.
Update: Our studies so far have demonstrated that the expression of two proteins, IL-17 and IL-17B, is critical for the development of an optimal immune response against influenza virus infection. Our studies also have indicated that one protein, IL-17B, is important for limiting early viral replication, while another, IL-17F, is important in orchestrating T cell response in the later stages of infection. This finding may have implications for the development of new treatments for inflammation-based respiratory disorders.