Original antigenic sin responses to influenza viruses.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.52). 08/2009; 183(5):3294-301. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0900398
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most immune responses follow Burnet's rule in that Ag recruits specific lymphocytes from a large repertoire and induces them to proliferate and differentiate into effector cells. However, the phenomenon of "original antigenic sin" stands out as a paradox to Burnet's rule of B cell engagement. Humans, upon infection with a novel influenza strain, produce Abs against older viral strains at the expense of responses to novel, protective antigenic determinants. This exacerbates the severity of the current infection. This blind spot of the immune system and the redirection of responses to the "original Ag" rather than to novel epitopes were described fifty years ago. Recent reports have questioned the existence of this phenomenon. Hence, we revisited this issue to determine the extent to which original antigenic sin is induced by variant influenza viruses. Using two related strains of influenza A virus, we show that original antigenic sin leads to a significant decrease in development of protective immunity and recall responses to the second virus. In addition, we show that sequential infection of mice with two live influenza virus strains leads to almost exclusive Ab responses to the first viral strain, suggesting that original antigenic sin could be a potential strategy by which variant influenza viruses subvert the immune system.

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