Cross-protection and cross-reactive cytotoxic T cells induced by influenza virus vaccines in mice

Eur J Immunol. 1980 May;10(5):396-401. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830100515.


Subunit and intact influenza A virus vaccines have been compared with infectious virus in a mouse model for their ability to induce memory for cross-reactive cytotoxic T cell responses and to protect mice from challenge with different subtypes of influenza A virus. There is an overall correlation between secondary cytotoxic T cell responses and cross-protection. The most long-lasting and successful cross-protection was observed after intranasal infection with influenza virus A/X31 (H3 N2) that replicates efficiently in mice and induces high levels of memory for cross-reactive cytotoxic T cell responses. Short-lasting cross-protection and low levels of T cell-mediated cytotoxicity were associated with infection by A/USSR (H1 N1) virus, that replicates to lower titers in mice, or after multiple injections of inactivated whole virus vaccine. No cross-protection to challenge with heterologous influenza virus was detectable after 1-2 injections of HANA influenza subunit vaccine which failed to prime hosts for cytotoxic T cell responses. These findings may have important implications for vaccination strategy. If cytotoxic T cells play a role in the protection of humans from influenza, live attenuated vaccines should be considered instead of the currently recommended inactivated virus or subunit vaccines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Cross Reactions
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Influenza Vaccines