Patients infected with influenza A virus (IAV) are at increased risk for bacterial superinfections, and this occurs in association with depressed polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMNL) function. Recently, we reported that in vitro exposure of human PMNL to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) reverses IAV-induced cell dysfunction. The present study used an established animal model of IAV infection to examine whether G-CSF and/or GM-CSF can overcome IAV- induced PMNL dysfunction and thereby prevent secondary infections. Preliminary studies determined a dosing schedule of these cytokines that caused significant priming of chinchilla PMNL. In subsequent studies, animals were inoculated intranasally with IAV (day 1) followed 3 days later by Streptococcus pneumoniae, and administered daily intraperitoneal injections with a cytokine or placebo on days 3 through 9. Animals had blood obtained on multiple occasions for PMNL studies, and were followed-up for evidence of pneumococcal disease. Both cytokines caused significant priming of the PMNL chemiluminescence response and this was associated with reversal of the IAV-induced PMNL dysfunction. However, neither cytokine decreased the incidence of pneumococcal disease.

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