Targeting vaccines more effectively

Migratory type 2 conventional dendritic cells (cDC2s) appear to induce an especially robust immune response to vaccination, making vaccines more effective. Stephanie C. Eisenbarth, MD, PhD, associate professor of laboratory medicine, of immunobiology, and of medicine, and colleagues investigated the process by which dendritic cells convey vaccine-delivered antigens to T cells in the lymph nodes, which in turn spur antibody production. Their findings appeared Dec. 1 in Science Immunology.

In mouse models engineered to prevent cDC2 cells from migrating to lymph nodes, antibody production in response to a vaccine-like virus was impaired. Inhibiting migration of a different form of dendritic cell (cDC1) did not impair response.

Therefore, to ensure maximum antibody production from a given vaccine dose, Eisenbarth suggests inoculation in ways that maximize vaccine interaction with cDC2. That could mean fewer injections into muscle, where dendritic cells are scarce, and more focus on the top layer of skin, where cDC2 cells are common.

Eisenbarth says maximum efficacy from the smallest possible vaccine dose may be especially valuable during flu pandemics, when vaccine production might lag during a surge in demand.


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