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J Infect Dis. 2015 Sep 1;212(5):830-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv128. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

The Fall of a Dogma? Unexpected High T-Cell Memory Response to Staphylococcus aureus in Humans.

Author information

1
Institute of Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Department of Immunology, University Medicine Greifswald.
2
Interfaculty Institute of Genetics and Functional Genomics, University of Greifswald.
3
Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen, Eberhard-Karls-University, Germany.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Though Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen, vaccine trials have failed. In contrast, class-switched antibodies specific to S. aureus are common, implying immune memory formation and suggesting a large pool of S. aureus-reactive helper T-cells.

OBJECTIVE:

To elucidate the cellular arm of S. aureus-specific immune memory, the T-cell response in humans was characterized.

METHODS:

The proliferative response of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to S. aureus antigens and the frequency of S. aureus-specific T-cells were quantified by (3)H-thymidine incorporation; cytokine release was measured by flow cytometry.

RESULTS:

Staphylococcus aureus particles and extracellular proteins elicited pronounced proliferation in PBMCs of healthy adults. This reflected a memory response with high frequencies of T-cells being activated by single S. aureus antigens. The whole S. aureus-specific T-cell pool was estimated to comprise 3.6% of T-cells with 35-fold differences between individuals (range, 0.2%-5.7%). When exposed to S. aureus antigens, the T-cells released predominantly but not solely T helper (Th)1/Th17 cytokines.

CONCLUSIONS:

The large number of S. aureus antigen-reactive memory T-lymphocytes is likely to influence the course of S. aureus infection. To enable rational vaccine design, the naturally acquired human T-cell memory needs to be explored at high priority.

KEYWORDS:

S. aureus; cytokines; human T-cells; memory response; proliferation

PMID:
25737563
DOI:
10.1093/infdis/jiv128
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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