Analysis of Cross Reactive Memory B Cells after Childhood Influenza Vaccination

Principal Investigator(s):

Deepta Bhattacharya, Ph.D. - Pathology and Immunology

Status: Completed

Center(s): Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Disease

Award Mechanism: Interdisciplinary Research Initiative

Project Period: 2/1/2011 - 4/30/2014

Total Amount: $450,000

Collaborators: Deborah Lenschow

Project Summary:
Vaccines protect against infection in large part by generating antibodies that recognize and neutralize bacteria and viruses. Adults can develop at least partial resistance to different seasonal influenza strains because cross-reactive antibodies are formed through repeated vaccines and exposure. Young children have not had the opportunity to develop this resistance, and are particularly susceptible to influenza infections. However, a certain type of cell generated by vaccination, called the memory B cell, may be able to provide cross-reactive antibodies even in young children. Dr. Battacharya, an immunologist, found that although memory B cells elicited after vaccination of mice against West Nile virus do not contribute much to the steady-state levels of antibodies, they possess the capacity for much more cross-reactivity against viral variants. In the proposed work, he will extend these findings to examine the ability of memory B cells to generate protective and cross-reactive antibodies against different influenza virus strains in mice and in clinical samples from children following vaccination. Strategies to help memory B cells generate sufficient quantities of these antibodies to protect against multiple influenza strains will also be tested in mouse models. These studies may lead to more effective vaccines to protect both children and adults against influenza and other viruses that mutate rapidly. A strong interdisciplinary team will participate in this work. Co-investigator Deborah Lenschow, MD, PhD, in the Department of Medicine is an expert on mouse models of influenza infection and collaborator Robert Belshe, MD, at St. Louis University School of Medicine will provide samples of blood from children before and after influenza vaccination for analysis of memory B cells and antibodies.