Shigella-Specific Immune Profiles Induced after Parenteral Immunization or Oral Challenge with Either Shigella flexneri 2a or Shigella sonnei

Kristen A. Clarkson, Kristen A. Clarkson, Kawsar R. Talaat, Robert W. Frenck, Cristina Alaimo, Patricia Martin, A. Louis Bourgeois, Robert W. Kaminski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shigella spp. are a leading cause of diarrhea-associated global morbidity and mortality. Development and widespread implementation of an efficacious vaccine remain the best option to reduce Shigella-specific morbidity. Unfortunately, the lack of a well-defined correlate of protection for shigellosis continues to hinder development efforts. Shigella controlled human infection models (CHIM) are often used in the early stages of vaccine development to provide preliminary estimates of vaccine efficacy; however, CHIMs also provide the opportunity to conduct in-depth immune response characterizations pre and postvaccination or pre and postinfection. In the current study, principal-component analyses were used to examine immune response data from two recent Shigella CHIMs in order to characterize immune response profiles associated with parenteral immunization, oral challenge with Shigella flexneri 2a, or oral challenge with Shigella sonnei. Although immunization induced an immune profile characterized by robust systemic antibody responses, it also included mucosal responses. Interestingly, oral challenge with S. flexneri 2a induced a distinctively different profile compared to S. sonnei, characterized by a relatively balanced systemic and mucosal response. In contrast, S. sonnei induced robust increases in mucosal antibodies with no differences in systemic responses across shigellosis outcomes postchallenge. Furthermore, S. flexneri 2a challenge induced significantly higher levels of intestinal inflammation compared to S. sonnei, suggesting that both serotypes may also differ in how they trigger innate immunity. These findings could have important Shigella vaccine development as protective immune mechanisms shigellosis, prior studies have demonstrated that Shigella infection provides protection against reinfection in a serotype-specific manner. Therefore, it is likely that subjects with moderate to severe disease post-oral challenge would be protected from a homologous rechallenge, and investigating immune responses in these subjects may help identify immune markers associated with the development of protective immunity. This is the first study to describe distinct innate and adaptive immune profiles post-oral challenge with two different Shigella serotypes. Analyses conducted here provide essential insights into the potential of different immune mechanisms required to elicit protective immunity, depending on the serotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Shigella
  • antibody
  • correlate of protection
  • gut-homing responses
  • human challenge
  • immune profile
  • immunogenicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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