Seasonal FluMist vaccination induces cross-reactive T cell immunity against H1N1 (2009) influenza and secondary bacterial infections

Keer Sun, Jianqiang Ye, Daniel R. Perez, Dennis W. Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


T cell epitopes have been found to be shared by circulating, seasonal influenza virus strains and the novel pandemic H1N1 influenza infection, but the ability of these common epitopes to provide cross-protection is unknown. We have now directly tested this by examining the ability of live seasonal influenza vaccine (FluMist) to mediate protection against swine-origin H1N1 influenza virus infection. Naive mice demonstrated considerable susceptibility to H1N1 Cal/04/09 infection, whereas FluMist-vaccinated mice had markedly decreased morbidity and mortality. In vivo depletion of CD4+ or CD8+ immune cells after vaccination indicated that protective immunity was primarily dependent upon FluMist-induced CD4+ cells but not CD8+ T cells. Passive protection studies revealed little role for serum or mucosal Abs in cross-protection. Although H1N1 influenza infection of naive mice induced intensive phagocyte recruitment, pulmonary innate defense against secondary pneumococcal infection was severely suppressed. This increased susceptibility to bacterial infection was correlated with augmented IFN-γ production produced during the recovery stage of H1N1 influenza infection, which was completely suppressed in mice previously immunized with FluMist. Furthermore, susceptibility to secondary bacterial infection was decreased in the absence of type II, but not type I, IFN signaling. Thus, seasonal FluMist treatment not only promoted resistance to pandemic H1N1 influenza infection but also restored innate immunity against complicating secondary bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-993
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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