Background. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5N1 subtype continue to cross the species barrier to infect humans and cause severe disease. It has been suggested that an exaggerated immune response contributes to the pathogenesis of H5N1 virus infection in mammals. In particular, H5N1 virus infections are associated with a high expression of the proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). Methods. We investigated the compounding affects of both cytokines on the outcome of H5N1 virus disease by using triple mutant mice deficient in 3 signaling receptors, TNF-R1, TNF-R2, and IL-1-RI. Results. Triple mutant mice exhibited reduced morbidity and a significant delay in mortality following lethal challenge with a lethal H5N1 virus, whereas no such differences were observed with the less virulent A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) virus. H5N1-infected triple mutant mice displayed diminished cytokine production in lung tissue and a quantifiable decrease of macrophages and neutrophils in the lungs postinfection. Moreover, morphometric analysis of airway sections revealed less extensive inflammation in H5N1-infected triple mutant mice, compared with infected wild-type mice. Conclusions. The combined signaling from the TNF or IL-1 receptors promotes maximal lung inflammation that may contribute to the severity of disease caused by H5N1 virus infection. © 2010 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.