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The Journal of clinical investigation

Characterization of pandemic influenza immune memory signature after vaccination or infection.


PMID 24911149

Abstract

The magnitude, quality, and maintenance of immunological memory after infection or vaccination must be considered for future design of effective influenza vaccines. In 2009, the influenza pandemic produced disease that ranged from mild to severe, even fatal, illness in infected healthy adults and led to vaccination of a portion of the population with the adjuvanted, inactivated influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine. Here, we have proposed a multiparameter quantitative and qualitative approach to comparing adaptive immune memory to influenza 1 year after mild or severe infection or vaccination. One year after antigen encounter, severely ill subjects maintained high levels of humoral and polyfunctional effector/memory CD4⁺ T cells responses, while mildly ill and vaccinated subjects retained strong cellular immunity, as indicated by high levels of mucosal homing and degranulation markers on IFN-γ⁺ antigen-specific T cells. A principal component analysis distinguished 3 distinct clusters of individuals. The first group comprised vaccinated and mildly ill subjects, while clusters 2 and 3 included mainly infected individuals. Each cluster had immune memory profiles that differed in magnitude and quality. These data provide evidence that there are substantial similarities between the antiinfluenza response that mildly ill and vaccinated individuals develop and that this immune memory signature is different from that seen in severely ill individuals.