Measles causes a transient immune suppression, leading to increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections. In experimentally infected non-human primates (NHPs) measles virus (MV) infects and depletes pre-existing memory lymphocytes, causing immune amnesia. A measles outbreak in the Dutch Orthodox Protestant community provided a unique opportunity to study the pathogenesis of measles immune suppression in unvaccinated children. In peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of prodromal measles patients, we detected MV-infected memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and naive and memory B cells at similar levels as those observed in NHPs. In paired PBMC collected before and after measles we found reduced frequencies of circulating memory B cells and increased frequencies of regulatory T cells and transitional B cells after measles. These data support our immune amnesia hypothesis and offer an explanation for the previously observed long-term effects of measles on host resistance. This study emphasises the importance of maintaining high measles vaccination coverage.,
Nature Communications
Department of Virology

Laksono, B., de Vries, R., Verburgh, J., Visser, E., de Jong, A. (Alwin), Fraaij, P., … de Swart, R. (2018). Studies into the mechanism of measles-associated immune suppression during a measles outbreak in the Netherlands. Nature Communications, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07515-0