Immunology

Infection history matters

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Science  10 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6291, pp. 1289-1290
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6291.1289-c

Previous infections may influence vaccine responses.

PHOTO: © BSIP SA/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

People's responses to infections vary; for instance, seasonal influenza viruses kill only a fraction of the people they infect. Environmental factors such as age, health status, and even one's microbiota can influence outcomes, and now Reese et al. report that infection history may matter too. The authors found that both basal and vaccine-induced immune responses differed between barrier-raised mice, which are largely protected from infections, and mice sequentially infected with viruses that cause chronic infections, influenza virus, and a parasitic worm. Moreover, the gene signatures of these sequentially infected mice more closely resembled those of pet store–raised mice as compared to laboratory-raised mice and of adult blood as compared to fetal cord blood. Sequential microbial exposures of laboratory mice may therefore better model the complexity of human immunity.

Cell Host Microbe 19, 713 (2016).

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