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Hyperinflammatory responses including the production of NLRP3-dependent interleukin (IL)-1β is a characteristic feature of severe and fatal influenza A virus (IAV) infections. The NLRP3 inflammasome has been shown to play a temporal role during severe IAV immune responses, with early protective and later detrimental responses. However, the specific contribution of IL-1β in modulating IAV disease in vivo is currently not well defined. Here, we identified that activation of NLRP3-dependent IL-1β responses occurs rapidly following HKx31 H3N2 infection, prior to the onset of severe IAV disease. Mature IL-1β was detectable in vivo in both hemopoietic and nonhemopoietic cells. Significantly, therapeutic inhibition of IL-1β in the airways with intranasal anti-IL-1β antibody treatment from day 3 postinfection, corresponding to the onset of clinical signs of disease, significantly prolonged survival and reduced inflammation in the airways. Importantly, early targeting of IL-1β from day 1 postinfection also improved survival. Together, these studies specifically define a role for IL-1β in contributing to the development of hyperinflammation and disease and indicate that targeting IL-1β is a potential therapeutic strategy for severe IAV infections.
- influenza A virus