Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Adaptive immunity to human coronaviruses is widespread but low in magnitude.

Abstract Source:

Clin Transl Immunology. 2021 ;10(3):e1264. Epub 2021 Mar 17. PMID: 33747512

Abstract Author(s):

Hyon-Xhi Tan, Wen Shi Lee, Kathleen M Wragg, Christina Nelson, Robyn Esterbauer, Hannah G Kelly, Thakshila Amarasena, Robert Jones, Graham Starkey, Bao Zhong Wang, Osamu Yoshino, Thomas Tiang, Michael Lindsay Grayson, Helen Opdam, Rohit D'Costa, Angela Vago, , Laura K Mackay, Claire L Gordon, Adam K Wheatley, Stephen J Kent, Jennifer A Juno

Article Affiliation:

Hyon-Xhi Tan


Objectives: Endemic human coronaviruses (hCoVs) circulate worldwide but cause minimal mortality. Although seroconversion to hCoV is near ubiquitous during childhood, little is known about hCoV-specific T-cell memory in adults.

Methods: We quantified CD4 T-cell and antibody responses to hCoV spike antigens in 42 SARS-CoV-2-uninfected individuals. Antigen-specific memory T cells and circulating T follicular helper (cTFH) cells were identified using an activation-induced marker assay and characterised for memory phenotype and chemokine receptor expression.

Results: T-cell responses were widespread within conventional memory and cTFH compartments but did not correlate with IgG titres. SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive T cells were observed in 48% of participants and correlated with HKU1 memory. hCoV-specific T cells exhibited a CCR6central memory phenotype in the blood, but were enriched for frequency and CXCR3 expression in human lung-draining lymph nodes.

Conclusion: Overall, hCoV-specific humoral and cellular memory are independently maintained, with a shared phenotype existing among coronavirus-specific CD4 T cells. This understanding of endemic coronavirus immunity provides insight into the homeostatic maintenance of immune responses that are likely to be critical components of protection against SARS-CoV-2.

Study Type : Human Study

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Sayer Ji
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