Suppression of mucosal Th17 memory responses by acellular pertussis vaccines enhances nasal Bordetella pertussis carriage

NPJ Vaccines. 2021 Jan 8;6(1):6. doi: 10.1038/s41541-020-00270-8.


Pertussis has made a spectacular rebound in countries that have switched from whole-cell (wPV) to acellular pertussis vaccines (aPV). Here, we show that, unlike wPV, aPV, while protective against lung colonization by Bordetella pertussis (Bp), did not protect BALB/c mice from nasal colonization, but instead substantially prolonged nasal carriage. aPV prevented the natural induction of nasal interleukin-17 (IL-17)-producing and interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-producing CD103+ CD44+ CD69+ CD4+-resident memory T (TRM) cells. IL-17-deficient, but not IFN-γ-deficient, mice failed to clear nasal Bp, indicating a key role of IL-17+ TRM cells in the control of nasal infection. These cells appeared essential for neutrophil recruitment, crucial for clearance of Bp tightly bound to the nasal epithelium. Transfer of IL-17+ TRM cells from Bp-infected mice to IL-17-deficient mice resulted in neutrophil recruitment and protection against nasal colonization. Thus, aPV may have augmented the Bp reservoir by inhibiting natural TRM cell induction and neutrophil recruitment, thereby contributing to the pertussis resurgence.