Measles virus infection diminishes preexisting antibodies that offer protection from other pathogens

Michael J. Mina, Tomasz Kula, Yumei Leng, Mamie Li, Rory D. De Vries, Mikael Knip, Heli Siljander, Marian Rewers, David F. Choy, Mark S. Wilson, H. Benjamin Larman, Ashley N. Nelson, Diane E. Griffin, Rik L. De Swart, Stephen J. Elledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Measles virus is directly responsible for more than 100,000 deaths yearly. Epidemiological studies have associated measles with increased morbidity and mortality for years after infection, but the reasons why are poorly understood. Measles virus infects immune cells, causing acute immune suppression. To identify and quantify long-term effects of measles on the immune system, we used VirScan, an assay that tracks antibodies to thousands of pathogen epitopes in blood. We studied 77 unvaccinated children before and 2 months after natural measles virus infection. Measles caused elimination of 11 to 73% of the antibody repertoire across individuals. Recovery of antibodies was detected after natural reexposure to pathogens. Notably, these immune system effects were not observed in infants vaccinated against MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), but were confirmed in measles-infected macaques. The reduction in humoral immune memory after measles infection generates potential vulnerability to future infections, underscoring the need for widespread vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-606
Number of pages8
JournalScience
Volume366
Issue number6465
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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