Early Induction of Cross-Reactive CD8+ T-Cell Responses in Tonsils After Live-Attenuated Influenza Vaccination in Children
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Infectious Diseases. 2020, 221(9), 1528–1537 10.1093/infdis/jiz583
Background Live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) was licensed for prophylaxis of children 2–17 years old in Europe in 2012 and is administered as a nasal spray. Live-attenuated influenza vaccine induces both mucosal and systemic antibodies and systemic T-cell responses. Tonsils are the lymph nodes serving the upper respiratory tract, acting as both induction and effector site for mucosal immunity. Methods Here, we have studied the early tonsillar T-cell responses induced in children after LAIV. Thirty-nine children were immunized with trivalent LAIV (containing A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B viruses) at days 3, 7, and 14 before tonsillectomy. Nonvaccinated controls were included for comparison. Tonsils and peripheral blood (pre- and postvaccination) were collected to study T-cell responses. Results Tonsillar and systemic T-cell responses differed between influenza strains, and both were found against H3N2 and B viruses, whereas only systemic responses were observed against A/H1N1. A significant increase in cross-reactive tonsillar CD8+ T cells recognizing conserved epitopes from a broad range of seasonal and pandemic viruses occurred at day 14. Tonsillar T cells showed significant cytokine responses (Th1, Th2, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor). Conclusions Our findings support the use of LAIV in children to elicit broadly cross-reactive T cells, which are not induced by traditional inactivated influenza vaccines and may provide protection to novel virus strains.