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Open AccessArticle

Responsiveness to Influenza Vaccination Correlates with NKG2C-Expression on NK Cells

Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
Department of Clinical Science, The Influenza Centre, University of Bergen, 5007 Bergen, Norway
K.G. Jebsen Centre for Influenza Vaccine Research, University of Oslo, 0313 Oslo, Norway
Department of Biostatistics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
Department of Computer Science, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences, 38302 Wolfenbuettel, Germany
Department of Research and Development, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway
Centre for Individualized Infection Medicine, 30625 Hannover, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Authors contributed equally.
Vaccines 2020, 8(2), 281;
Received: 30 April 2020 / Revised: 24 May 2020 / Accepted: 3 June 2020 / Published: 5 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Influenza Virus Vaccines)
Influenza vaccination often results in a large percentage of low responders, especially in high-risk groups. As a first line of defense, natural killer (NK) cells play a crucial role in the fight against infections. However, their implication with regard to vaccine responsiveness is insufficiently assessed. Therefore, this study aimed at the validation of essential NK cell features potentially associated with differential vaccine responsiveness with a special focus on NKG2C- and/or CD57-expressing NK cells considered to harbor memory-like functions. To this end, 16 healthy volunteers were vaccinated with an adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccine. Vaccine responders and low responders were classified according to their hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers. A majority of responders displayed enhanced frequencies of NKG2C-expressing NK cells 7- or 14-days post-vaccination as compared to low responders, whereas the expression of CD57 was not differentially modulated. The NK cell cytotoxic potential was found to be confined to CD56dimCD16+ NKG2C-expressing NK cells in the responders but not in the low responders, which was further confirmed by stochastic neighbor embedding analysis. The presented study is the first of its kind that ascribes CD56dimCD16+ NKG2C-expressing NK cells a crucial role in biasing adaptive immune responses upon influenza vaccination and suggests NKG2C as a potential biomarker in predicting pandemic influenza vaccine responsiveness. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza; vaccination; vaccine responsiveness; NK cells; NKG2C influenza; vaccination; vaccine responsiveness; NK cells; NKG2C
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MDPI and ACS Style

Riese, P.; Trittel, S.; Pathirana, R.D.; Klawonn, F.; Cox, R.J.; Guzmán, C.A. Responsiveness to Influenza Vaccination Correlates with NKG2C-Expression on NK Cells. Vaccines 2020, 8, 281.

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