Vibrio cholerae O1 can cause diarrheal disease that may be life-threatening without treatment. Natural infection results in long-lasting protective immunity, but the role of T cells in this immune response has not been well characterized. In contrast, robust B-cell responses to V. cholerae infection have been observed. In particular, memory B-cell responses to T-cell-dependent antigens persist for at least 1 year, whereas responses to lipopolysaccharide, a T-cell-independent antigen, wane more rapidly after infection. We hypothesize that protective immunity is mediated by anamnestic responses of memory B cells in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, and T-cell responses may be required to generate and maintain durable memory B-cell responses. In this study, we examined B- and T-cell responses in patients with severe V. cholerae infection. Using the flow cytometric assay of the specific cell-mediated immune response in activated whole blood, we measured antigen-specific T-cell responses using V. cholerae antigens, including the toxin-coregulated pilus (TcpA), a V. cholerae membrane preparation, and the V. cholerae cytolysin/hemolysin (VCC) protein. Our results show that memory T-cell responses develop by day 7 after infection, a time prior to and concurrent with the development of B-cell responses. This suggests that T-cell responses to V. cholerae antigens may be important for the generation and stability of memory B-cell responses. The T-cell proliferative response to VCC was of a higher magnitude than responses observed to other V. cholerae antigens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases