Back to overview

Prevalence and Predictors for Homo- and Heterosubtypic Antibodies Against Influenza A Virus.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Kohler Ines, Scherrer Alexandra U, Zagordi Osvaldo, Bianchi Matteo, Wyrzucki Arkadiusz, Steck Marco, Ledergerber Bruno, Günthard Huldrych F, Hangartner Lars,
Project Development of novel strain- and subtype-independent influenza vaccines by targeting the conserved epitopes of the hemagglutinin surface protein
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Title of proceedings Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
DOI 10.1093/cid/ciu660


BACKGROUND  The effectiveness of trivalent influenza vaccination has been confirmed in several studies. To date, it is not known whether repeated exposure and vaccination to influenza promote production of cross-reactive antibodies. Furthermore, how strains encountered earlier in life imprint the immune response is currently poorly understood. METHODS  To determine the prevalence for human homo- and heterosubtypic antibody responses, we scrutinized serum samples from 305 healthy volunteers for hemagglutinin-binding and -neutralizing antibodies against several strains and subtypes of influenza A. Statistical analyses were then performed to establish the association of measured values with potential predictors. RESULTS  It was found that vaccination not only promoted higher binding and neutralizing antibody titers to homosubtypic influenza isolates but also increased heterosubtypic human immune responses. Both binding and neutralizing antibody titers in relation with age of the donors mirrored the course of the different influenza strain circulation during the last century. Advanced age appeared to be of advantage for both binding and neutralizing titers to most subtypes. In contrast, the first virus subtype encountered was found to imprint to some degree subsequent antibody responses. Antibodies to recent strains, however, primarily seemed to be promoted by vaccination. CONCLUSIONS  We provide evidence that vaccinations stimulate both homo- and heterosubtypic immune responses in young and middle-aged as well as more senior individuals. Our analyses suggest that influenza vaccinations not only prevent infection against currently circulating strains but can also stimulate broader humoral immune responses that potentially attenuate infections with zoonotic or antigenically shifted strains.