Primary and long-term B-cell responses in the upper airway and lung after influenza A virus infection
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Influenza A virus (IAV) infection represents a significant global public health burden in addition to its potential as a pandemic killer. Accordingly, the immune response within the respiratory tract and associated lymphoid tissues has been a focus of study for decades. Murine model systems have led to a relatively clear understanding that while innate and T-cell responses are essential for clearance of an initial infection, high affinity neutralizing antibodies (Abs) generated by long-lived Ab forming cells and memory B cells are critical for protection from reinfection and are the goal of classic vaccination strategies. Indeed, the local and systemic IAV-specific Ab response after primary pulmonary infection has been well studied in mice. However, the highly organized microenvironments responsible for producing long-lived, high affinity responses, namely germinal center (GC) reactions, have been less well studied. Recently, work from our laboratory and others has provided new insights into the induction and character of IAV-specific GC responses in the secondary lymphoid organs and the lung. Of interest, these studies have demonstrated IAV reactive GCs to persist for extended periods in both draining lymph nodes and lung tissue. Herein, the primary adaptive response to IAV is reviewed with an emphasis on GC B-cell responses. In addition, data are shown demonstrating the persistence of GCs in the respiratory tract after IAV infection, and key factors that drive their maintenance.
KeywordsB lymphocytes Germinal centers Antibodies Humoral immunity Influenza
The authors would like to acknowledge the expert technical assistance of Lorraine Tygrett and Betty Young.
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