Identification of pertussis-specific effector memory T cells in preschool children

Lia C G H de Rond, Rose Minke Schure, Kemal Öztürk, Guy A M Berbers, Elisabeth Sanders, Inonge Van Twillert, Maria Carollo, Françoise Mascart, Clara M. Ausiello, Cecile A.C.M. Van Els, Kaat Smits, Anne-Marie Buisman

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Whooping cough remains a problem despite vaccination, and worldwide resurgence of pertussis is evident. Since cellular immunity plays a role in long-term protection against pertussis, we studied pertussis-specific T-cell responses. Around the time of the preschool acellular pertussis (aP) booster dose at 4 years of age, T-cell memory responses were compared in children who were primed during infancy with either a whole-cell pertussis (wP) or an aP vaccine. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated and stimulated with pertussis vaccine antigens for 5 days. T cells were characterized by flow-based analysis of carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) dilution and CD4, CD3, CD45RA, CCR7, gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) expression. Before the aP preschool booster vaccination, both the proliferated pertussis toxin (PT)-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell fractions (CFSEdim) were higher in aP-than in wP-primed children. Post-booster vaccination, more pertussis-specific CD4+ effector memory cells (CD45RA- CCR7-) were induced in aP-primed children than in those primed with wP. The booster vaccination did not appear to significantly affect the T-cell memory subsets and functionality in aP-primed or wP-primed children. Although the percentages of Th1 cytokine-producing cells were alike in aP- and wP-primed children pre-booster vaccination, aP-primed children produced more Th1 cytokines due to higher numbers of proliferated pertussis-specific effector memory cells. At present, infant vaccinations with four aP vaccines in the first year of life result in pertussis-specific CD4+ and CD8+ effector memory T-cell responses that persist in children until 4 years of age and are higher than those in wP-primed children. The booster at 4 years of age is therefore questionable; this may be postponed to 6 years of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-569
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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