The possibility that ferret lung macrophages may be one factor operating to prevent infection of susceptible alveolar cells (as demonstrated by organ cultures) by both virulent and attenuated strains of influenza virus has been investigated. Phagocytosis of four strains of influenza virus [A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) and clone 64d (attenuated for ferrets) and clones 64c and 7a (virulent for ferrets) of the recombinant virus A/PR/8/34-A/England/939/69 (H3N2)] by ferret alveolar macrophages showed that all strains, whether virulent or attenuated, attached equally well (72 to 93%). Recoveries of virus were similar (17 to 44%) whether phagocytosis occurred at the normal temperature of the ferret (39°C) or at pyrexial temperatures induced during infection (40°C for A/PR/8/34 and clone 64d; 41°C for clones 7a and 64c). Thus, alveolar macrophages probably contribute to the lack of alveolar infection observed .


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