Excerpt from ScienceTechDaily
New Model for Vaccination Against Genital Herpes
Until now, most efforts to develop a vaccine have focused on the immune system’s antibodies, or T cells, circulating through the body. When T cells encounter foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses, they learn to recognize them and mount ever-stronger immune responses to fight them. But efforts to harness these circulating T cells have not been effective in organs such as the vagina, intestines, lung airways, and central nervous system, which restrict the entry of these “memory” T cells.
To investigate an alternative approach, the Yale team focused instead on peripheral tissue in the female genital tract, where viral exposure occurs. The challenge was to recruit virus-specific T cells into the vaginal mucosa without triggering a potentially harmful inflammatory response of the immune system.
Working with mice, they explored a two-part vaccine strategy they call “prime and pull.” The “priming” involved conventional vaccination to elicit a system-wide T cell response. The “pulling” involved recruitment of activated T cells directly into the vaginal tissue, via topical application, of chemokines — substances that help mobilize the immune cells.
The original study can be found here
A vaccine strategy that protects against genital herpes by establishing local memory T cells by Haina Shin & Akiko Iwasaki
Most successful existing vaccines rely on neutralizing antibodies, which may not require specific anatomical localization of B cells. However, efficacious vaccines that rely on T cells for protection have been difficult to develop, as robust systemic memory T-cell responses do not necessarily correlate with host protection1. In peripheral sites, tissue-resident memory T cells provide superior protection compared to circulating memory T cells2, 3. Here we describe a simple and non-inflammatory vaccine strategy that enables the establishment of a protective memory T-cell pool within peripheral tissue. The female genital tract, which is a portal of entry for sexually transmitted infections, is an immunologically restrictive tissue that prevents entry of activated T cells in the absence of inflammation or infection4. To overcome this obstacle, we developed a vaccine strategy that we term ‘prime and pull’ to establish local tissue-resident memory T cells at a site of potential viral exposure. This approach relies on two steps: conventional parenteral vaccination to elicit systemic T-cell responses (prime), followed by recruitment of activated T cells by means of topical chemokine application to the restrictive genital tract (pull), where such T cells establish a long-term niche and mediate protective immunity. In mice, prime and pull protocol reduces the spread of infectious herpes simplex virus 2 into the sensory neurons and prevents development of clinical disease. These results reveal a promising vaccination strategy against herpes simplex virus 2, and potentially against other sexually transmitted infections such as human immunodeficiency virus.