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Environmental contaminant mixtures modulate in vitro influenza infection.

New publication by Jean-Pierre Desforges, Christopher Bandoro, Laila Shehata, Christian Sonne, Rune Dietz, Wendy B. Puryear and Jonathan A. Runstadler.


Environmental chemicals, particularly organochlorinated contaminants (OCs), are associated with a ranged of adverse health effects, including impairment of the immune system and antiviral immunity. Influenza A virus (IAV) is an infectious disease of major global public health concern and exposure to OCs can increase the susceptibility, morbidity, and mortality to disease. It is however unclear how pollutants are interacting and affecting the outcome of viral infections at the cellular level. In this study, we investigated the effects of a mixture of environmentally relevant OCs on IAV infectivity upon in vitro exposure in Madin Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells and human lung epithelial cells (A549). Exposure to OCs reduced IAV infectivity inMDCK and A549 cells during both short (18–24 h) and long-term (72 h) infections at 0.05 and 0.5 ppm, and effects weremore pronounced in cells co-treated with OCs and IAV than pre-treated with OCs prior to IAV (p b 0.001). Pre-treatment of host cells with OCs did not affect IAV cell surface attachment or entry. Visualization of IAV by transmission electronmicroscopy revealed increased envelope deformations and fewer intact virions during OC exposure. Taken together, our results suggest that disruption of IAV infection upon in vitro exposure to OCs was not due to host-cell effects influencing viral attachment and entry, but perhaps mediated by direct effects on viral particles or cellular processes involved in host-virus interactions. In vitro infectivity studies such as ours can shed light on the complex processes underlying host-pathogen-pollutant interactions.

Science of the Total Environment 634 (2018) 20–28. doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.321