Innate immunity is critical in the early containment of influenza virus infection. The innate response is surprisingly complex. A variety of soluble innate inhibitors in respiratory secretions provide an initial barrier to infection. Dendritic cells, phagocytes and natural killer cells mediate viral clearance and promote further innate and adaptive responses. Toll-like receptors 3 and 7 and cytoplasmic RNA sensors are critical for activating these responses. In general, the innate response restricts viral replication without injuring the lung; however, the 1918 pandemic and H5N1 strains cause more profound, possibly harmful, innate responses. In this review, we discuss the implications of burgeoning knowledge of innate immunity for therapy of influenza.
Keywords: collectin, defensin, influenza, innate immunity, Toll-like receptor