Vaccinating against multiple diseases at once leads to DECREASED immunity and ‘enhanced’ infection when challenged by the disease.

T cell memory is usually studied in the context of infection with a single pathogen in naive mice, but how memory develops during a coinfection with two pathogens, as frequently occurs in nature or after vaccination, is far less studied. Here, we questioned how the competition between immune responses to two viruses in the same naive host would influence the development of CD8 T cell memory and subsequent disease outcome upon challenge. Using two different models of coinfection, including the well-studied lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) and Pichinde (PICV) viruses, several differences were observed within the CD8 T cell responses to either virus. Compared to single-virus infection, coinfection resulted in substantial variation among mice in the size of epitope-specific T cell responses to each virus. Some mice had an overall reduced number of virus-specific cells to either one of the viruses, and other mice developed an immunodominant response to a normally subdominant, cross-reactive epitope (nucleoprotein residues 205 to 212, or NP205). These changes led to decreased protective immunity and enhanced pathology in some mice upon challenge with either of the original coinfecting viruses. In mice with PICV-dominant responses, during a high-dose challenge with LCMV clone 13, increased immunopathology was associated with a reduced number of LCMV-specific effector memory CD8 T cells. In mice with dominant cross-reactive memory responses, during challenge with PICV increased immunopathology was directly associated with these cross-reactive NP205-specific CD8 memory cells. In conclusion, the inherent competition between two simultaneous immune responses results in significant alterations in T cell immunity and subsequent disease outcome upon reexposure.

Source: Journal of Virology, DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01432-15

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