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Our immune system fights pathogens, but it sometimes overshoots the mark and damages body tissue. Researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research HZI report that activation of a molecule called ICOS, on the surface of immune cells, limits the extent of lung damage during the infection.
When infected with influenza, the body becomes an easy target for bacteria. Now, a team of immunologists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research HZI and partners has discovered how the flu virus alters the host's immune system and compromises its capacity to effectively fight off bacterial infections.
In healthy lungs, several mechanisms prevent the body's immune system to attack lung tissue. But in case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these mechanisms cease to function properly. The research group of Prof. Dunja Bruder at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, Germany, has explored and described these processes in great detail.