When it comes to the flu, the nose has a long memory | Science News

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When it comes to the flu, the nose has a long memory

In mice, immune cells in nasal tissue remembered — and attacked — past invaders

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2:00pm, June 2, 2017
girl sneezing

NOSE GUARD  Following a bout of the flu, the nose makes specialized immune cells that can protect against the illness, a new study in mice suggests.

After an influenza infection, the nose recruits immune cells with long memories to keep watch for the virus, research with mice suggests.

For the first time, this type of immune cell — known as tissue resident memory T cells — has been found in the nose, researchers report June 2 in Science Immunology. Such nasal resident memory T cells may prevent flu from recurring. Future nasal spray vaccines that boost the number of these T cells in the nose might be an improvement over current flu shots, researchers say.

It’s known that some T cell sentinels take up residence in specific tissues, including the brain, liver, intestines, skin and lungs. In most of these tissues, the resident memory T cells start patrolling after a localized infection. “They’re basically sitting there waiting in case you get infected with that pathogen again,” says Linda

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