The pros and cons of CD8 T cells in respiratory infections

The pros and cons of CD8 T cells in respiratory infections

CD8 T cells are vital for clearing acute infections; because of this they make an attractive target for vaccine development. Using a number of different vaccine platforms we have been investigating the role of CD8 T cells in protection against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Influenza. We have shown a protective role for DNA vaccine induced CD8 T cells in influenza. The situation for RSV is more complex with timing, route and formulation all affecting the type of CD8 T cells induced. Immunisation with a DNA vaccine leads to a large influx of CD8 T cells into the lung, but they are associated with disease not protection; likewise RSV infection in early leads to the generation of pathogenic CD8 T cells. However, RSV infection as an adult induces a population of resident memory CD8 T cells in the lung that are protective not disease enhancing. We are now investigating vaccine strategies to induce these protective T cells.

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