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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21566. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021566. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Systemic BCG immunization induces persistent lung mucosal multifunctional CD4 T(EM) cells which expand following virulent mycobacterial challenge.

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  • 1TB Research Group, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), Addlestone, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Abstract

To more closely understand the mechanisms of how BCG vaccination confers immunity would help to rationally design improved tuberculosis vaccines that are urgently required. Given the established central role of CD4 T cells in BCG induced immunity, we sought to characterise the generation of memory CD4 T cell responses to BCG vaccination and M. bovis infection in a murine challenge model. We demonstrate that a single systemic BCG vaccination induces distinct systemic and mucosal populations of T effector memory (T(EM)) cells in vaccinated mice. These CD4+CD44(hi)CD62L(lo)CD27⁻ T cells concomitantly produce IFN-γ and TNF-α, or IFN-γ, IL-2 and TNF-α and have a higher cytokine median fluorescence intensity MFI or 'quality of response' than single cytokine producing cells. These cells are maintained for long periods (>16 months) in BCG protected mice, maintaining a vaccine-specific functionality. Following virulent mycobacterial challenge, these cells underwent significant expansion in the lungs and are, therefore, strongly associated with protection against M. bovis challenge. Our data demonstrate that a persistent mucosal population of T(EM) cells can be induced by parenteral immunization, a feature only previously associated with mucosal immunization routes; and that these multifunctional T(EM) cells are strongly associated with protection. We propose that these cells mediate protective immunity, and that vaccines designed to increase the number of relevant antigen-specific T(EM) in the lung may represent a new generation of TB vaccines.

PMID:
21720558
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3123368
Free PMC Article
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