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April 2020
Vol 6, Issue 16

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Influenza A, a highly contagious virus that causes annual flu epidemics worldwide, has been shown to trigger excessive immune responses called "cytokine storms," which unleash inflammation that can result in hospitalization or even death. However, the mechanisms that promote cytokine storms, causing some individuals to suffer more from the flu than others, remain mysterious. Glucose metabolism and inflammatory cytokine signal networks are known to have evolved together, but it has been unclear whether they interact during flu infection. To learn whether glucose metabolism is related to the off-the-wall immune response brought on by influenza A, Wang et al. examined blood glucose levels and cytokine production in mice with the flu, finding that those treated with glucosamine produced significantly higher levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines than mice that did not receive glucosamine. The researchers also analyzed glucose in blood samples from patients diagnosed with influenza A and healthy patients, determining that the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway, which metabolizes a small portion of glucose, plays an essential role in cytokine storms triggered by the flu virus. [CREDIT: KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty]