Evidence of functional cell-mediated immune responses to nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in otitis-prone children

E. Seppanen, D. Tan, K.J. Corscadden, A.J. Currie, P.C. Richmond, R.B. Thornton, L-A.S. Kirkham

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8 Citations (Web of Science)


Otitis media (OM) remains a common paediatric disease, despite advances in vaccinology. Susceptibility to recurrent acute OM (rAOM) has been postulated to involve defective cell-mediated immune responses to common otopathogenic bacteria. We compared the composition of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 20 children with a history of rAOM (otitis-prone) and 20 healthy non-otitis-prone controls, and assessed innate and cell-mediated immune responses to the major otopathogen nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi). NTHi was a potent stimulator of inflammatory cytokine secretion from PBMC within 4 hours, with no difference in cytokine levels produced between PBMC from cases or controls. In the absence of antigen stimulation, otitis-prone children had more circulating Natural Killer (NK) cells (p<0.01), particularly NKdim (CD56lo) cells (p<0.01), but fewer CD4+ T cells (p<0.01) than healthy controls. NTHi challenge significantly increased the proportion of activated (CD107a+) NK cells in otitis-prone and non-otitis-prone children (p<0.01), suggesting that NK cells from otitis-prone children are functional and respond to NTHi. CD8+ T cells and NK cells from both cases and controls produced IFNγ in response to polyclonal stimulus (Staphylococcal enterotoxin B; SEB), with more IFNγ+ CD8+ T cells present in cases than controls (p<0.05) but similar proportions of IFNγ+ NK cells. Otitis-prone children had more circulating IFNγ-producing NK cells (p<0.05) and more IFNγ-producing CD4+ (p<0.01) or CD8+ T-cells (p<0.05) than healthy controls. In response to SEB, more CD107a-expressing CD8+ T cells were present in cases than controls (p<0.01). Despite differences in PBMC composition, PBMC from otitis-prone children mounted innate and T cell-mediated responses to NTHi challenge that were comparable to healthy children. These data provide evidence that otitis-prone children do not have impaired functional cell mediated immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0193962
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


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