Influenza Vaccination Primes Human Myeloid Cell Cytokine Secretion and NK Cell Function

Helen R Wagstaffe, Harry Pickering, Joanna Houghton, Jason P Mooney, Asia-Sophia Wolf, Natalie Prevatt, Ron H Behrens, Martin J Holland, Eleanor M Riley, Martin R Goodier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) NK cells generated in response to proinflammatory cytokines in vitro and in vivo can also be generated by vaccination, exhibiting heightened responses to cytokine stimulation months after their initial induction. Our previous study demonstrated that in vitro human NK cell responses to inactivated influenza virus were also indirectly augmented by very low doses of IL-15, which increased induction of myeloid cell-derived cytokine secretion. These findings led us to hypothesize that IL-15 stimulation could reveal a similar effect for active influenza vaccination and influence CIML NK cell effector functions. In this study, 51 healthy adults were vaccinated with seasonal influenza vaccine, and PBMC were collected before and up to 30 d after vaccination. Myeloid and lymphoid cell cytokine secretion was measured after in vitro PBMC restimulation with low-dose IL-15, alone or in combination with inactivated H3N2 virus; the associated NK cell response was assessed by flow cytometry. PBMC collected 30 d postvaccination showed heightened cytokine production in response to IL-15 compared with PBMC collected at baseline; these responses were further enhanced when IL-15 was combined with H3N2. NK cell activation in response to IL-15 alone (CD25) and H3N2 plus IL-15 (CD25 and IFN-γ) was enhanced postvaccination. We also observed proliferation of less-differentiated NK cells with downregulation of cytokine receptors as early as 3 d after vaccination, suggesting cytokine stimulation in vivo. We conclude that vaccination-induced "training" of accessory cells combines with the generation of CIML NK cells to enhance the overall NK cell response postvaccination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immunology
Early online date19 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2019


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