Influenza Vaccination Generates Cytokine-Induced Memory-like NK Cells: Impact of Human Cytomegalovirus Infection

Martin R Goodier, Ana Rodriguez-Galan, Chiara Lusa, Carolyn M Nielsen, Alansana Darboe, Ana L Moldoveanu, Matthew J White, Ron Behrens, Eleanor M Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human NK cells are activated by cytokines, immune complexes, and signals transduced via activating ligands on other host cells. After vaccination, or during secondary infection, adaptive immune responses can enhance both cytokine-driven and Ab-dependent NK cell responses. However, induction of NK cells for enhanced function after in vitro exposure to innate inflammatory cytokines has also been reported and may synergize with adaptive signals to potentiate NK cell activity during infection or vaccination. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of seasonal influenza vaccination on NK cell function and phenotype in 52 previously unvaccinated individuals. Enhanced, IL-2-dependent, NK cell IFN-γ responses to Influenza A/California/7/2009 virus were detected up to 4 wk postvaccination and higher in human CMV (HCMV)-seronegative (HCMV(-)) individuals than in HCMV-seropositive (HCMV(+)) individuals. By comparison, robust NK cell degranulation responses were observed both before and after vaccination, due to high titers of naturally occurring anti-influenza Abs in human plasma, and did not differ between HCMV(+) and HCMV(-) subjects. In addition to these IL-2-dependent and Ab-dependent responses, NK cell responses to innate cytokines were also enhanced after influenza vaccination; this was associated with proliferation of CD57(-) NK cells and was most evident in HCMV(+) subjects. Similar enhancement of cytokine responsiveness was observed when NK cells were cocultured in vitro with Influenza A/California/7/2009 virus, and this was at least partially dependent upon IFN-αβR2. In summary, our data indicate that attenuated or live viral vaccines promote cytokine-induced memory-like NK cells and that this process is influenced by HCMV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-25
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2016


  • Adult
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Influenza, Human
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interleukin-2
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthomyxoviridae
  • Vaccination
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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