Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
Morbidity and mortality in the elderly are associated with viral infections, including influenza and cytomegalovirus (CMV). With increasing age, cellular immunity gains importance in protection to influenza, but latent CMV is highly prevalent and associated with immune dysfunction. An insight into the association between immunity against influenza and CMV adds to the understanding of healthy aging. Here we first aimed to measure influenza-specific cellular immunity using granzyme B (GrzB) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-ELISpot. Next, influenza-specific cellular immunity was associated with humoral and cellular CMV-specific immunity in healthy 65+ elderly. Vaccine trial participants gave additional blood samples 3 weeks after receiving a H1N1 containing vaccine. CMV serology was determined and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stimulated with influenza N1 or CMV pp65-derived peptide pools for 7 days and rechallenged to assess antigen-specific GgrzB and IFN-γ responses using ELISpot assays. Results were compared using chi-square and correlation analysis. Eighty-three individuals (60% men, 65% CMV IgG+, age range 65-78y) participated. We found significant positive associations between IFN-γ and GrzB responses to both influenza and CMV, but also between a positive CMV serostatus and an influenza N1-specific activation marker response (p = 0.013). CMV pp65 responses were detected in CMV IgG+ individuals, but remarkably also in CMV IgG- individuals (27%). In this study, following influenza vaccination, elderly with cellular immunity against CMV were more likely to have cellular immunity against influenza vaccine N1 antigen. These findings stress the need to continue exploring the possible role of CMV in immunosenescence.