Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) is a common cause of respiratory infection, but also frequently colonizes the nasopharynx in the absence of disease. We used mass cytometry to study immune cells from nasal biopsy samples collected following experimental human pneumococcal challenge in order to identify immunological mechanisms of control of Spn colonization. Using 37 markers, we characterized 293 nasal immune cell clusters, of which 7 were associated with Spn colonization. B cell and CD8+CD161+ T cell clusters were significantly lower in colonized than in non-colonized subjects. By following a second cohort before and after pneumococcal challenge we observed that B cells were depleted from the nasal mucosa upon Spn colonization. This associated with an expansion of Spn polysaccharide-specific and total plasmablasts in blood. Moreover, increased responses of blood mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells against in vitro stimulation with pneumococcus prior to challenge associated with protection against establishment of Spn colonization and with increased mucosal MAIT cell populations. These results implicate MAIT cells in the protection against pneumococcal colonization and demonstrate that colonization affects mucosal and circulating B cell populations.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Invest

Publication Date





4523 - 4538


B cells, Bacterial infections, Immunology, Infectious disease, Adaptive Immunity, Adult, B-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Female, Humans, Immunity, Innate, Immunity, Mucosal, Male, Nasal Mucosa, Pneumococcal Infections, Streptococcus pneumoniae