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J Infect Dis. 2019 Jun 27. pii: jiz321. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz321. [Epub ahead of print]

Live attenuated influenza vaccine induces tonsillar follicular T helper cell responses that correlate with antibody induction.

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Influenza Center, University of Bergen.
K.G. Jebsen Center for influenza vaccines, University of Bergen.
Broegelmann Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen.
Department of Research and Development, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.


Influenza remains a major threat to public health. Live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) have been shown to be effective, particularly in children. Follicular T helper (TFH) cells provide B-cell help and are crucial for generating long-term humoral immunity. However the role of TFH-cells in LAIV induced immune responses is unknown. Here we report that LAIV induced early (3-7 days post-vaccination) activation of tonsillar follicles and influenza-specific TFH-cell (CXCR5+CD57+CD4+ T-cell) responses in children, and to a lesser extent in adults. Serological analyses showed that LAIV elicited rapid (day 14) and long-term (up to 1 year post-vaccination) antibody responses (HI, influenza-specific IgG) in children, but not adults. There was an inverse correlation between pre-existing influenza-specific salivary IgA concentrations and tonsillar TFH-cell responses, and a positive correlation between tonsillar TFH-cell and systemic IgG induction after LAIV. Together, our data demonstrate an important role of tonsillar TFH-cells in LAIV-induced immunity in humans.


Influenza; LAIV; TFH-cells; antibody responses; children; tonsils


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