The Route of Vaccine Administration Determines Whether Blood Neutrophils Undergo Long-Term Phenotypic Modifications

Front Immunol. 2022 Jan 4:12:784813. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.784813. eCollection 2021.


Innate immunity modulates adaptive immunity and defines the magnitude, quality, and longevity of antigen-specific T- and B- cell immune memory. Various vaccine and administration factors influence the immune response to vaccination, including the route of vaccine delivery. We studied the dynamics of innate cell responses in blood using a preclinical model of non-human primates immunized with a live attenuated vaccinia virus, a recombinant Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing a gag-pol-nef fusion of HIV-1, and mass cytometry. We previously showed that it induces a strong, early, and transient innate response, but also late phenotypic modifications of blood myeloid cells after two months when injected subcutaneously. Here, we show that the early innate effector cell responses and plasma inflammatory cytokine profiles differ between subcutaneous and intradermal vaccine injection. Additionally, we show that the intradermal administration fails to induce more highly activated/mature neutrophils long after immunization, in contrast to subcutaneous administration. Different batches of antibodies, staining protocols and generations of mass cytometers were used to generate the two datasets. Mass cytometry data were analyzed in parallel using the same analytical pipeline based on three successive clustering steps, including SPADE, and categorical heatmaps were compared using the Manhattan distance to measure the similarity between cell cluster phenotypes. Overall, we show that the vaccine per se is not sufficient for the late phenotypic modifications of innate myeloid cells, which are evocative of innate immune training. Its route of administration is also crucial, likely by influencing the early innate response, and systemic inflammation, and vaccine biodistribution.

Keywords: Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA); administration routes; innate immune memory; innate immunity; mass cytometry (CyTOF); trained immunity; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines* / genetics
  • AIDS Vaccines* / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV-1* / genetics
  • HIV-1* / immunology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Vaccinia virus* / genetics
  • Vaccinia virus* / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Cytokines
  • HIV Antibodies