The memory B cell response to influenza vaccination is impaired in older personsMore about Open Access at the Crick
Authors listAlice R Burton Stephane M Guillaume William S Foster Adam K Wheatley Danika L Hill Edward J Carr Michelle A Linterman
Influenza infection imparts an age-related increase in mortality and morbidity. The most effective countermeasure is vaccination; however, vaccines offer modest protection in older adults. To investigate how aging impacts the memory B cell response, we track hemagglutinin-specific B cells by indexed flow sorting and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) in 20 healthy adults that were administered the trivalent influenza vaccine. We demonstrate age-related skewing in the memory B cell compartment 6 weeks after vaccination, with younger adults developing hemagglutinin-specific memory B cells with an FcRL5+ “atypical” phenotype, showing evidence of somatic hypermutation and positive selection, which happened to a lesser extent in older persons. We use publicly available scRNA-seq from paired human lymph node and blood samples to corroborate that FcRL5+ atypical memory B cells can derive from germinal center (GC) precursors. Together, this study shows that the aged human GC reaction and memory B cell response following vaccination is defective.