TLR5 and gut micro-organisms involved in influenza vaccine response, research suggests

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the influenza virus on cell surface

The mechanisms by which influenza vaccination elicits a host immune response are not fully understood, and a significant proportion of vaccinated individuals – particularly the young and elderly – remain susceptible to infection.

Bali Pulendran, from the Emory Vaccine Center, Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues recently identified a correlation between toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) expression shortly after vaccination and the subsequent magnitude of the antibody response.

Writing in Immunity
(online, September 2014), Pulendran’s group now demonstrates that TLR5 is required for the antibody response to vaccination and that it acts via the intestinal microbiota.

Interestingly, TLR5-mediated sensing of the microbiota impacted antibody responses to the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine and to the inactivated polio vaccine but not to adjuvanted vaccines or the live-attenuated yellow fever vaccine. 


  [1] Oh JZ, Ravindran R, Chassaing B et al. TLR5-Mediated Sensing of Gut Microbiota Is Necessary for Antibody Responses to Seasonal Influenza Vaccination. Immunity 2014;41(3): 478-492. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2014.08.009 (accessed 22 September 2014)


Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 27 September 2014, Vol 293, No 7829;293(7829):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066516