Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20303671
Pathol. Biol. 2010 Apr;58(2):e79-86
Protection against pathogens is mediated by both humoral responses (neutralizing antibodies) and cellular immunity, both CD4+ and CD8+ cells. In the case of influenza viruses, circulating strains contain both variable and conserved T and B cell epitopes that are challenged after vaccination and/or infection. During infection, the role of T cells is to prevent viral dissemination in the organism by killing the infected cells and helping B cell antibody production to neutralize the virus. The threat of influenza virus increases the preparedness of protective immunity to pandemic and seasonal infection by vaccination. Several questions remain that need to be further addressed for the future development of innovative and rapidly efficient vaccines strategies. Firstly, what are the correlates of long-term protection (antibodies and/or T cells) against variant strains of influenza? How does the individual factors (age, natural immunity, vaccination and/or infection history) influence the generation and maintenance of memory cells? What are the factors allowing the maintenance of immune memory (regular contact with the pathogen or re-vaccination)? Secondly, what is the nature and quality (function / phenotype / location) of memory B and T cells? Finally, is it necessary to induce and maintain immunological memory against conserved proteins and/or to re-vaccinate against viral variants? What would be the consequences of repeated vaccination? These questions remain a subject of debate that will be further discussed. Since immunological memory is the cornerstone of vaccination, it is essential that we have a better understanding of its generation and maintenance over time as well as its contribution to recall responses during pandemics or after vaccination.