Date of Graduation

Fall 2022


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Christopher Lupfer


Chronic inflammation is characterized by infiltration of inflammatory cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes into the tissue where they produce inflammatory cytokines that contribute to tissue damage. Worldwide, 3 out of 5 people die due to chronic inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Since it is well-documented that diet and metabolism are key mediators of inflammation, I investigated the effects of dietary lectins on inflammatory cytokine production and the ability of sodium pyruvate, a metabolite, to decrease inflammation. In chapter 1, I examined the effect that lectins from either Triticum vulgaris (common wheat) or Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean) had on bone marrow derived macrophages infected with LPS + ATP or IAV. During infection, neither lectin significantly affected the levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-1β or IL-6. However, when the cells were uninfected but treated with the bean lectin, a significant amount of background inflammation was observed. While the presence of the lectins may not exacerbate an infection, they could contribute to a pre-existing inflammatory condition. In chapter 2, I collaborated with a company (Emphycorp) and investigated the effects of sodium pyruvate nasal spray on the symptoms of lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis (PF), COVID-19 and long-COVID. All of these respiratory diseases result from excessive acute or chronic inflammation and can exacerbate each other (i.e. PF patients have more severe COVID-19, and COVID-19 can result in PF). Three separate clinical trials were conducted in COVID-19 infected patients, long-COVID patients, and pulmonary fibrosis patients to determine the efficacy of N115, a sodium pyruvate nasal spray. During an active COVID-19 infection, N115 decreased viral titers and improved some patient symptoms. However, it was more effective in chronic diseases (long-COVID and PF patients), where N115 significantly increased SaO2 levels, improved lung function, headache, coughing/sneezing and breathing. Overall, my research demonstrates that dietary constituents and metabolic products can have harmful or beneficial effects on inflammation.


lectin, inflammation, metabolite, cytokine, influenza A virus, COVID-19, infectious disease, chronic inflammation, pyruvate

Subject Categories

Immunology and Infectious Disease


© Riley Ann Nadler

Open Access