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J Virol. 2013 Apr;87(8):4496-506. doi: 10.1128/JVI.03413-12. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Splenic priming of virus-specific CD8 T cells following influenza virus infection.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Center for Integrative Immunology and Vaccine Research, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.


In healthy individuals, influenza virus (IAV) infection generally remains localized to the epithelial cells of the respiratory tract. Previously, IAV-specific effector CD8 T cells found systemically during the course of IAV infection were thought to have been primed in lung-draining lymph nodes with subsequent migration to other tissues. However, little is known about whether other lymphoid sites participate in the generation of virus-specific CD8 T cells during localized IAV infection. Here, we present evidence of early CD8 T cell priming in the spleen following respiratory IAV infection independent of lung-draining lymph node priming of T cells. Although we found early indications of CD8 T cell activation in the lymph nodes draining the respiratory tract, we also saw evidence of virus-specific CD8 T cell activation in the spleen. Furthermore, CD8 T cells primed in the spleen differentiated into memory cells of equivalent longevity and with similar recall capacity as CD8 T cells primed in the draining lymph nodes. These data showed that the spleen contributes to the virus-specific effector and memory CD8 T cell populations that are generated in response to respiratory infection.

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