Age dependent differences in the kinetics of GammaDelta T cells after influenza vaccination


Immunosenescence is a hallmark of the aging immune system and is considered the main cause of a reduced vaccine efficacy in the elderly. Although γδ T cells can become activated by recombinant influenza hemagglutinin, their age-related immunocompetence during a virus-induced immune response has so far not been investigated. In this study we evaluate the kinetics of γδ T cells after vaccination with the trivalent 2011/2012 northern hemisphere seasonal influenza vaccine. We applied multi-parametric flow cytometry to a cohort of 21 young (19–30 years) and 23 elderly (53–67 years) healthy individuals. Activated and proliferating γδ T cells, as identified by CD38 and Ki67 expression, were quantified on the days 0, 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, and 21. We observed a significantly lower number of activated and proliferating γδ T cells at baseline and following vaccination in elderly as compared to young individuals. The kinetics changes of activated γδ T cells were much stronger in the young, while corresponding changes in the elderly occurred slower. In addition, we observed an association between day 21 HAI titers of influenza A and the frequencies of Ki67+ γδ T cells at day 7 in the young. In conclusion, aging induces alterations of the γδ T cell response that might have negative implications for vaccination efficacy.
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