Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Cold Damage

Airway cells change metabolism in response to rhinovirus infection

04 August 2021

Cold Damage

The common cold is, as the name suggests, a pervasive pest. Infection can damage cells of our respiratory system, leading to inflammation and further problems. To investigate how this damage occurs, a study looked at infection in the cells lining airways (pictured, with tiny hair structures of the airway in pink and a cold-causing human rhinovirus highlighted green). They discovered that in response to infection, cells launch into a temporary state of metabolism, characterised by high rates of glycolysis (a process of breaking down sugars). This behaviour helps the cells present a protective barrier against infection, but eventually wanes, allowing the virus to gain ground and cause damage. Artificially boosting glycolysis reinvigorated the cells’ protective spirit, restoring the barrier and combating disease progression. Targeting this molecular pathway could be a route for new treatments to rescue airways from the brink of dysfunction, and prevent severe infections worsening.

Written by Anthony Lewis

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.