The role of T cell immunity has been acknowledged in recent vaccine development and evaluation. We tested the humoral and cellular immune responses to Flucelvax®, a quadrivalent inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine containing two influenza A (H1N1 Singapore/GP1908/2015 IVR-180 and H3N2 North Carolina/04/2016) and two influenza B (Iowa/06/2017 and Singapore/INFTT-16-0610/2016) virus strains, using peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated by pools of peptides overlapping all the individual influenza viral protein components. Baseline reactivity was detected against all four strains both at the level of CD4 and CD8 responses and targeting different proteins. CD4 T cell reactivity was mostly directed to HA/NA proteins in influenza B strains, and NP/M1/M2/NS1/NEP proteins in the case of the Influenza A strains. CD8 responses to both influenza A and B viruses preferentially targeted the more conserved core viral proteins. Following vaccination, both CD4 and CD8 responses against the various influenza antigens were increased in day 15 to day 91 post vaccination period and maintained a Th1 polarized profile. Importantly, no vaccine interference was detected, with the increased responses balanced across all 4 included viral strains for both CD4 and CD8 T cells, and targeting HA and multiple additional viral antigens.
T cells; protein immunodominance; cytokine polarization; influenza viruses; vaccine
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