Resident memory CD8+ T cells in the upper respiratory tract prevent pulmonary influenza virus infection

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Science Immunology  02 Jun 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 12, eaam6970
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aam6970

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T cells by a nose

The nose is the port of entry for inhaled pathogens such as influenza virus, yet little is known about nasal-specific border patrol. Pizzola et al. now report that resident memory T cells (Trm cells) in the nasal mucosa are critical for preventing pathogen spread to the lungs. In contrast to lung Trm cells, nasal CD8+ Trm cells were induced independently of local antigen and persisted in the long term. Moreover, upper respiratory tract immunization blocked influenza virus transmission to the lung, preventing severe pulmonary disease. Therefore, vaccines that induce nasal Trm cells may stop respiratory pathogens at the gates.