Why Flu Results in Life-threatening Complications during Pregnancy, New Study Reveals

Jan, 2021 - By SMI

Why Flu Results in Life-threatening Complications during Pregnancy, New Study Reveals

According to a new collaborative study initiated by the researchers of RMIT University and researchers and clinicians from Ireland and Australia have reported of highlighting why flu can be devastating for pregnant women and also suggests that the flu virus is not restricted to lungs but extents throughout the mother's body. Researchers also informed that the findings of the study might aid researchers to understand the essential biology of how COVID-19 spreads from the lungs into the body.

In this study, researchers involved animal models and found that during pregnancy flu transmits from lungs to the blood vessels into the circulatory system, further activating a damaging hyperactive immune response.

Dr. Stella Liong, Lead author stated, “We've known for a long time that flu can cause serious maternal and fetal complications, but how this happens has not been clearly understood. Conventional thinking has blamed the suppressed immune system that occurs in pregnancy but what we see is the opposite effect—flu infection leads to a drastically heightened immune response. The inflammation we found in the circulatory system is so overwhelming, it's like a vascular storm wreaking havoc throughout the body.”

The current study on Influenza A exhibited that the virus acts differently in the bodies of pregnant and non-pregnant mice. Researchers observed that in non-pregnant mice model, flu infection was restricted to the lungs, however in pregnant mice, Influenza A spread into the circulatory system through blood vessels, thereby triggering intense inflammation. These intense inflammation significantly affects the function of large blood vessels, which further affects health of the mother and in some cases it can constrain blood flow to the growing fetus. In addition, researchers concluded that according to the findings influenza infection might tip that underlying inflammation in the mother's body aggressively, into a systemic inflammatory event.

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