Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

AMBIENT ENVIRONMENT

Humidity and immunity

Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1902840116 (2019)

Infection with respiratory viruses often increases during the colder and less-humid winter months; however, the host-intrinsic factors that contribute to this enhanced susceptibility have remained largely unclear. Iwasaki and colleagues, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, report on infection with influenza A virus in mice kept under normal or low ambient humidity. Infection under low-humidity conditions results in worse symptoms, less-efficient epithelial repair, impaired mucociliary and innate immune cell–dependent clearance of the virus and reduced control of viral spreading. Furthermore, the expression of key interferon-regulated genes is also reduced under low relative humidity. The mechanism that underpins these diverse impairments seen under low humidity remains unknown but might be related to the induction of stress responses.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zoltan Fehervari.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fehervari, Z. Humidity and immunity. Nat Immunol 20, 776 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41590-019-0434-x

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing