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Virology. 1999 Feb 1;254(1):50-60.

Heterosubtypic immunity to lethal influenza A virus infection is associated with virus-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses induced in mucosa-associated tissues.

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Department of Microbiology and The Immunobiology Vaccine Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, 35294-2170, USA.


Heterosubtypic immunity, defined as cross-reactive immune responses to influenza virus of a different serotype than the virus initially encountered, was investigated in association with virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses induced in systemic and mucosa-associated lymph nodes after immunization via different routes. Mice immunized by the pulmonary route with live nonpathogenic influenza virus, strain Udorn (H3N2), survived challenge with mouse-adapted pathogenic influenza virus, strain PR/8/34 (H1N1). These mice developed strong heterosubtypic CTL responses in spleen, cervical lymph nodes (CLN), and mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN). Alternately, only 20% of mice immunized intravenously, intraperitoneally, or intranasally survived the challenge; all of these developed CTL responses in spleen and CLN, but not in MLN. Direct correlation between short-term and long-term memory heterosubtypic CTL responses induced in MLN and host recovery after lethal infection indicates that these CTL responses may play an important role in heterosubtypic immunity. Furthermore, induction and maintenance of memory CTL in regional mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues are highly dependent on mucosal immunization. The results implicate the mechanism of heterosubtypic immunity and should be an important consideration in the development of protective mucosal vaccines against variant strains of influenza and HIV.

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