Influenza can lead to serious health complications, including death. American scientists have identified a mechanism that even healthy people without pathologies of the cardiovascular system provoke heart problems after flu. The cause was a common genetic mutation.
One of the hypotheses is considered systemic inflammation from an infection that causes stress and harms the heart, EurekAlert reported.
New research has focused on genetic risk factors and found a mutation in the IFITM3 gene, which leads to complications.
Previous studies have shown that the IFITM3 mutation increases the risk of hospitalization and death in people with the flu. This is because the IFITM3 gene protects cells from viruses by building protective barriers in the early stages of the immune response, scientists explain.
Animal model experiments have confirmed the assumptions. Without the IFITM3 gene, mice infected with various strains of influenza had an increased risk of heart problems. A decrease in heart rate, arrhythmia, and deaths were recorded.
This is the first study to prove the relationship between the gene and heart complications after the flu.
Understanding the underlying causes of mortality from influenza will help find therapy and save lives, the authors noted.
A total of 20% of Chinese and about 4% of people of European descent have IFITM3 mutations.