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Nat Immunol. 2016 Apr;17(4):461-468. doi: 10.1038/ni.3371. Epub 2016 Feb 15.

The cellular composition of the human immune system is shaped by age and cohabitation.

Author information

1
Lymphocyte Signaling and Development ISP, Babraham Institute, Cambridge CB22 3AT, UK.
2
Translational Immunology Laboratory, VIB, Leuven 3000, Belgium.
3
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium.
4
Department of Neurosciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
5
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0XY, UK; Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.
6
Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Detailed population-level description of the human immune system has recently become achievable. We used a 'systems-level' approach to establish a resource of cellular immune profiles of 670 healthy individuals. We report a high level of interindividual variation, with low longitudinal variation, at the level of cellular subset composition of the immune system. Despite the profound effects of antigen exposure on individual antigen-specific clones, the cellular subset structure proved highly elastic, with transient vaccination-induced changes followed by a return to the individual's unique baseline. Notably, the largest influence on immunological variation identified was cohabitation, with 50% less immunological variation between individuals who share an environment (as parents) than between people in the wider population. These results identify local environmental conditions as a key factor in shaping the human immune system.

PMID:
26878114
PMCID:
PMC4890679
DOI:
10.1038/ni.3371
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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