AUG 17, 2016 5:48 PM PDT

How Can We Improve Vaccines Based on Natural Immune Trends?

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Some cells in the immune system are for constantly pumping out antibodies during an infection, while others are saved for later should the same pathogen strike again. In a new study from the Emory Vaccine Center and Stanford’s Department of Pathology, scientists investigated how the immune system differentiates between the two types of cells, in order to adapt a similar process to the development of more effective vaccines. 
Presence of lymphocytes as an infection progresses
Plasmablasts are responsible for immediate antibody production when a pathogen invades the body. Activated B cells, the immune cells that precede memory B cells, don’t secrete antibodies spontaneously like plasmablasts do. However, they can be stimulated to secrete different antibodies according to the content of their DNA. In their recent study published in the journal Nature Immunology, researchers tracked the path of B cells during an immune response by following their DNA patterns.

The team of scientists studied the activity of activated B cells after influenza vaccination, after influenza infection, and during Ebola virus infection. Why Ebola? “Ebola virus infection represents a situation when the patients’ bodies were encountering something they’ve never seen before,” said lead author Ali Ellebedy, PhD. “In contrast, during both influenza vaccination and infection, the immune system generally is relying on recall.”

One week after study participants were immunized for influenza, both flu-specific plasmablasts and flu-specific activated B cells were detected in their blood. However, two weeks after the immunization, the plasmablasts had completely disappeared from the blood, while the activated B cell cells were still proliferating. 

Months after the immunization, activated B cells had completed the transition into resting memory B cells, giving scientists the full picture of how memory cells are produced.

Additionally, they saw a similar trend in Ebola patients with a progressing infection: as the plasmablast count decreased in the blood, the activated B cell count increased. 

With more insight into how antibody-producing cells diminish over time, researchers might make some changes to the way vaccines are created.

“It is still worthwhile to encourage the immune system to make a greater quantity of antibodies, even if their quality does not rise appreciably, and the value of vaccination may be greater when the flu vaccine strains are not identical to those used in previous seasons’ vaccines,” Ellebedy said.
 


Source: Emory Health Sciences
Image: Blood Journal
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 04, 2019
Immunology
AUG 04, 2019
New Research In Reversing Deafness
Hair cells inside the human ear are responsible for sensing and relaying sound to the brain.  In all mammals except humans, these cells can regenerate...
SEP 11, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 11, 2019
Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurosarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is a multisystem inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of non-caseating granulomas in the affected organs. The majority of p...
OCT 08, 2019
Immunology
OCT 08, 2019
Circadian Rhythm Governs Immune Protection of the Gut
The circadian rhythm governs more than just waking and sleeping. The intricate functions of the digestive system rely on the ticking, clock-like rhythm as ...
NOV 26, 2019
Immunology
NOV 26, 2019
The Immune System's Hand in Toxic Shock
While rare, toxic shock is a dangerous condition that acts fast and can be fatal. A new study identified a new target for treating toxic shock, a component...
DEC 05, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 05, 2019
New Injection that Treats Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergies affect between 1 and 3% of the US population. Associated with a heightened risk of severe anaphylactic reactions, oral immunotherapy is th...
DEC 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 20, 2019
A Natural Approach to Pain Management
In many instances, pain can be a rather useful tool. It informs individuals that something is amiss with their body and they should seek treatment. However...
Loading Comments...