Journal: Science Translational Medicine
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A shot at understanding the flu vaccine
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Immunization with the seasonal flu vaccine triggers a host of tissue- and blood-specific immune cell responses dependent on previous exposure to vaccination or virus, an Australian study has found.
The seasonal flu vaccine remains the most effective prophylaxis against the seasonal flu, yet the protection-generating cellular response to immunization has, until now, not been understood. The University of Melbourne’s Katherine Kedzierska lead a team to categorize the cellular activity underpinning flu vaccine-mediated protection.
The team found that influenza vaccination activated a cascade of cellular responses, including the induction of multiple types of B cells, which secrete antibodies and have the capacity to differentiate into memory cells to protect against recurrent infection. Immune cell activity differed between tissues and blood, and existing antibodies reduced the cellular response to vaccination.
Mechanistic studies such as this provide invaluable insights that enable the ‘rational design’ of future vaccines, where specific cells and physiological pathways are targeted to produce the maximum possible benefit.
- Science Translational Medicine 10, eaan8405 (2018). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan8405