Published in

MDPI, Vaccines, 6(10), p. 884, 2022

DOI: 10.3390/vaccines10060884



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NK Cell Subset Redistribution and Antibody Dependent Activation after Ebola Vaccination in Africans

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Natural killer cells play an important role in the control of viral infections both by regulating acquired immune responses and as potent innate or antibody-mediated cytotoxic effector cells. NK cells have been implicated in control of Ebola virus infections and our previous studies in European trial participants have demonstrated durable activation, proliferation and antibody-dependent NK cell activation after heterologous two-dose Ebola vaccination with adenovirus type 26.ZEBOV followed by modified vaccinia Ankara-BN-Filo. Regional variation in immunity and environmental exposure to pathogens, in particular human cytomegalovirus, have profound impacts on NK cell functional capacity. We therefore assessed the NK cell phenotype and function in African trial participants with universal exposure to HCMV. We demonstrate a significant redistribution of NK cell subsets after vaccine dose two, involving the enrichment of less differentiated CD56dimCD57− and CD56dimFcεR1γ+ (canonical) cells and the increased proliferation of these subsets. Sera taken after vaccine dose two support robust antibody-dependent NK cell activation in a standard NK cell readout; these responses correlate strongly with the concentration of anti-Ebola glycoprotein specific antibodies. These sera also promote comparable IFN-γ production in autologous NK cells taken at baseline and post-vaccine dose two. However, degranulation responses of post-vaccination NK cells were reduced compared to baseline NK cells and these effects could not be directly attributed to alterations in NK cell phenotype after vaccination. These studies demonstrate consistent changes in NK cell phenotypic composition and robust antibody-dependent NK cell function and reveal novel characteristics of these responses after heterologous two dose Ebola vaccination in African individuals.