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Vaccine. 2013 Dec 17;32(1):111-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.10.056. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Different T cell memory in preadolescents after whole-cell or acellular pertussis vaccination.

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Laboratory of Vaccinology and Mucosal Immunity, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
Pediatric Department, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Pediatric Pulmonology, Cystic Fibrosis Clinic and Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel), Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.
INSERM U 1019, Lille, France; CNRS, UMR8204, Lille, France; Université Lille Nord de France, Lille, France; Institut Pasteur de Lille, Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille, Lille, France.
Laboratory of Vaccinology and Mucosal Immunity, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium; Immunobiology Clinic, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:


To better understand vaccine-induced protection and its potential failure in light of recent whooping cough resurgence, we evaluated quantity as well as quality of memory T cell responses in B. pertussis-vaccinated preadolescent children. Using a technique based on flow cytometry to detect proliferation, cytokine production and phenotype of antigen-specific cells, we evaluated residual T cell memory in a cohort of preadolescents who received a whole-cell pertussis (wP; n=11) or an acellular pertussis vaccine (aP; n=13) during infancy, and with a median of 4 years elapsed from the last pertussis booster vaccine, which was aP for all children. We demonstrated that B. pertussis-specific memory T cells are detectable in the majority of preadolescent children several years after vaccination. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell proliferation in response to pertussis toxin and/or filamentous hemagglutinin was detected in 79% and 60% of the children respectively, and interferon-γ or tumor necrosis factor-α producing CD4(+) T cells were detected in 65% and 53% of the children respectively. Phenotyping of the responding cells showed that the majority of antigen-specific cells, whether defined by proliferation or cytokine production, were CD45RA(-)CCR7(-) effector memory T cells. Although the time since the last booster vaccine was significantly longer for wP-compared to aP-vaccinated children, their proliferation capacity in response to antigenic stimulation was comparable, and more children had a detectable cytokine response after wP- compared to aP-vaccination. This study supports at the immunological level recent epidemiological studies indicating that infant vaccination with wP induces longer lasting immunity than vaccination with aP-vaccines.


Acellular pertussis vaccine; Bordetella pertussis; Bp; Children; FHA; Immune response; Memory T cell; PBMC; PT; SEB; Staphylococcus enterotoxin B; Whole-cell pertussis vaccine; aP; acellular pertussis; filamentous hemagglutinin; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; pertussis toxin; wP; whole-cell pertussis

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