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Researchers Examine Immune Response to Flu Vaccine

'Original antigenic sin' doesn't appear to come into play in typical adults following vaccination

FRIDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Following influenza vaccination, researchers isolated a mostly antigen-specific population of antibody-secreting plasma cells from subjects that represented about 5 percent of all blood-borne B cells, according to research published online April 30 in the journal Nature.

Jens Wrammert, Ph.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues found that influenza vaccination leads to a flood of IgG+ antibody-secreting plasma cells (ASCs), peaking at roughly seven days, that are mostly influenza reactive. This response was notably pauci-clonal, which in some donors was dominated by just a few B-cell clones.

The researchers used sorted single ASCs to create human monoclonal antibodies, which bound with high affinity to three influenza vaccine strains. Their work found that the "original antigenic sin" concept didn't play a significant role in the memory response, since most of the influenza-virus-specific monoclonal antibodies showed the greatest affinity for the current vaccine strain.

"Conventional wisdom holds that the level of pre-formed antibody is the main correlate of protection against influenza virus. However, our results, showing the rapidity of the antibody response after vaccination and the high affinity of the antibodies produced, strongly suggest that the recall response could also play a role in protective immunity. This antibody would not, of course, prevent initial infection but could play a crucial role in preventing the spread of virus and bringing about faster resolution of the infection," the authors write.

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