For vaccines, CD4+ T cells can spell trouble
The ideal vaccine elicits immune memory—either antibodies or memory T cells—to protect the host from subsequent infections. T cell–mediated immunity requires both helper CD4+ T cells and cytotoxic CD8+ T cells to kill virus-infected cells. But what happens when a vaccine only elicits CD4+ memory T cells? Penaloza-MacMaster et al. probed this question by giving mice a vaccine that generated only memory CD4+ T cells against lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Instead of protecting mice against chronic LCMV, vaccinated mice developed massive inflammation and died. Virus-specific CD8+ T cells or antibodies protected mice from the pathology. These results may have implications for vaccines against chronic viruses such as HIV.
Science 16 January 2015:
Vol. 347 no. 6219 pp. 278-282