Research ArticleINFECTIOUS DISEASES

Incomplete genetic reconstitution of B cell pools contributes to prolonged immunosuppression after measles

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Science Immunology  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 41, eaay6125
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aay6125

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Measles infection prunes back B cell memory

Measles virus is a highly infectious lymphotropic virus associated with an extended period of immunosuppression after resolution of acute viremia. Petrova et al. sequenced the immunoglobulin gene repertoire of naïve and memory B cells in paired pre- and post-measles infection blood samples from unvaccinated children. Memory B cell clones present before infection were depleted in post-measles samples even after lymphocyte counts had recovered, a change not seen in controls given a flu vaccination. The naïve B cell repertoire exhibited multiple perturbations after measles infection, including a profound skew toward clones with immature features in ~10% of the cohort. The B cell repertoire changes documented in this study provide a molecular explanation for the durable “immune amnesia” observed after measles infection in unvaccinated populations.

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