Human memory T cell dynamics after aluminum-adjuvanted inactivated whole-virion SARS-CoV-2 vaccination

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Tavukcuoglu E., Yanik H., Parveen M., Uluturk S., DURUSU TANRIÖVER M., İNKAYA A. Ç., ...More

Scientific Reports, vol.13, no.1, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-023-31347-8
  • Journal Name: Scientific Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study evaluates the functional capacity of CD4+ and CD8+ terminally-differentiated effector (TEMRA), central memory (TCM), and effector memory (TEM) cells obtained from the volunteers vaccinated with an aluminum-adjuvanted inactivated whole-virion SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (CoronaVac). The volunteers were followed for T cell immune responses following the termination of a randomized phase III clinical trial. Seven days and four months after the second dose of the vaccine, the memory T cell subsets were collected and stimulated by autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells (mDCs) loaded with SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein S1. Compared to the placebo group, memory T cells from the vaccinated individuals significantly proliferated in response to S1-loaded mDCs. CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cell proliferation was detected in 86% and 78% of the vaccinated individuals, respectively. More than 73% (after a short-term) and 62% (after an intermediate-term) of the vaccinated individuals harbored TCM and/or TEM cells that responded to S1-loaded mDCs by secreting IFN-γ. The expression of CD25, CD38, 4-1BB, PD-1, and CD107a indicated a modulation in the memory T cell subsets. Especially on day 120, PD-1 was upregulated on CD4+ TEMRA and TCM, and on CD8+ TEM and TCM cells; accordingly, proliferation and IFN-γ secretion capacities tended to decline after 4 months. In conclusion, the combination of inactivated whole-virion particles with aluminum adjuvants possesses capacities to induce functional T cell responses.