Mucosal Immunol. 2016 Apr 27. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.41. [Epub ahead of print]

Cross-protective mucosal immunity mediated by memory Th17 cells against Streptococcus pneumoniae lung infection.

Wang Y1, Jiang B1, Guo Y2, Li W1, Tian Y3, Sonnenberg GF4, Weiser JN1,5, Ni X2, Shen H1,2.

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Pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (Sp) remains a leading cause of serious illness and death worldwide. Immunization with conjugated pneumococcal vaccine has lowered the colonization rate and consequently invasive diseases by inducing serotype-specific antibodies. However, many of the current pneumonia cases result from infection by serotype strains not included in the vaccine. In this study, we asked if cross-protection against lung infection by heterologous strains can be induced, and investigated the underlying immune mechanism. We found that immune mice recovered from a prior infection were protected against heterologous Sp strains in the pneumonia challenge model, as evident by accelerated bacterial clearance, reduced pathology, and apoptosis of lung epithelial cells. Sp infection in the lung induced strong T-helper type 17 (Th17) responses at the lung mucosal site. Transfer of CD4+ T cells from immune mice provided heterologous protection against pneumonia, and this protection was abrogated by interleukin-17A (IL-17A) blockade. Transfer of memory CD4+ T cells from IL-17A-knockout mice failed to provide protection. These results indicate that memory Th17 cells had a key role in providing protection against pneumonia in a serotype-independent manner and suggest the feasibility of developing a broadly protective vaccine against bacterial pneumonia by targeting mucosal Th17 T cells.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication 27 April 2016; doi:10.1038/mi.2016.41.

PMID: 27118490 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]