Scientists from the University of Michigan found that the famous tert-butyl hydroquinone dietary supplement, also known as E319, suppresses the body's immune response to influenza, at least in mice. This additive is also present in many foods, for example in frozen meat, crackers and chips.
Experts believe that exposure to E319 leads to more serious manifestations of the flu. In addition, a dietary supplement can reduce the effectiveness of an influenza vaccine because it affects T cells. We explain that they are a kind of foundation of the human immune system. Such white blood cells are divided into T-killers (recognize and destroy damaged cells) and T-helpers (strengthen the acquired immune response).
When a person becomes infected with the flu virus, T-helpers control the immune system and help coordinate the response to a pathogen invasion. At the same time, T-killers detect and destroy infected cells.
Experts have conducted a series of experiments to study how the food additive E319 influences this process. They fed a group of mice with food, the other part of the rodents was a control.
It turned out that in animals that ate E319, T helper cells and T killers were not activated as quickly as usual. All this led to a slower release of the virus from the body.
"Our research showed that mice with E319 in their diet had a weakened immune response to the flu infection. In our model, E319 suppressed the function of two types of T cells, helper cells and killer cells. Eventually, this led to more serious symptoms of subsequent influenza infection," says Robert Freeborn from the University of Michigan.
Freeborns suggest that E319 causes similar effects by activating certain proteins that suppress the immune system.
"The expression of these proteins, CTLA-4 and IL-10, was activated in two different models that we used in the laboratory. In between, we still have to determine whether the activation of such proteins can be the real cause of E319 effects during influenza infection. " adds scientist.
What's interesting is that when the specialists again infected the rodents with a new flu infection, the animals lasted longer with the animals fed E319. In addition, these mice lost more weight than others.
Authors of work believe that the food additive broke a secondary immune response. The latter sets up the immune system to fight the new infection, Freeborn explains.
A secondary immune response is crucial for the efficacy of the vaccine, so this limitation has the potential to reduce the efficacy of an influenza vaccine.
By the way, T lymphocytes are involved in the immune response to a variety of diseases, so this dietary supplement can also complicate the course of other infections, Freeborn adds.
As noted above, E319 is a fairly common additive that is often used to prevent product damage. Today it is hard to know whether you use E319 as food or not, because the additive is not always on the labels, Freebourn notes. It is used in cooking, for example, in the oil used for deep-frying chips.
In his opinion, the best way to limit exposure to E319 is to carefully select foods. It is known that the additive is used most to stabilize fats. That is why a low-fat diet and less consumption of different types of ready-made meals and snacks help to reduce the effects of E319 on the body.
Freeborn also notes that the annual flu vaccine remains the best way to prevent the disease. Despite the fact that you can get the flu even after receiving the vaccine, vaccination, as demonstrated by previous studies, significantly reduces the duration and severity of the disease.
Freeborn and his research team are now planning to use human blood samples to further investigate how E319 influences the activity of human T cells.
According to scientists, the link found can explain why seasonal flu still poses a serious threat to human health. According to some estimates, 290,000 to 650,000 people worldwide die every year from respiratory problems.
The authors presented the results of their research at the annual meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapy (ASPET), held on April 6 and 9-9 in Orlando.
The authors of the "Vesti.Nauka" project (nauka.vesti.ru) previously said that bacteria in a person's nose help protect against influenza viruses and that the risk of infection with this condition depends on the time of day.