News Releases & Research Results Discovery of the mechanism through which RS virus infection induces bacterial pneumonia: Paving the way for the development of novel preventive and therapeutic methods to treat secondary bacterial pneumonia

News Releases & Research Results


The results of collaborative research conducted by Associate Professor Takehiko Shibata of the Department of Microbiology, Tokyo Medical University (Chief Researcher at the Department of Immunology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases at the time of research); Director Yoshimasa Takahashi of the Department of Immunology and Director Manabu Abe of the Department of Mycobacteriology, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases; and others.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • The research group discovered the immunological mechanism underlying secondary bacterial infection induced by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes respiratory infectious diseases.
  • Specifically, through the construction of a mouse model of secondary bacterial pneumonia following RSV infection and experiments using the model, the research group discovered that RSV infection suppresses immune responses, resulting in the explosive growth of the subsequently caught Streptococcus pneumoniae and the induction of pneumonia. It was also discovered that RSV-induced activation of the Gas6/Axl signal induces M2-like macrophages with a low antibacterial activity.
  • The results of research should facilitate the development of novel preventive and therapeutic methods to treat secondary bacterial pneumonia that follows viral infection.

This research project was conducted with the support of the Research Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases by AMED.

The results of research were published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, an American scientific journal, on May 5.


Shibata T., et al. Respiratory syncytial virus infection exacerbates pneumococcal pneumonia via Gas6/Axl-mediated macrophage polarization The Journal of Clinical Investigation


Last updated 05/05/20