Researchers have discovered that the composition of the microorganisms in the gut affect effectivity of the seasonal flu vaccine. This potentially means that your gut bacteria affect how effective the vaccine will be within your own body.
The ‘potential’ is because the research is based on animal studies. Nonetheless, there could be a parallel with the human body. The research indicates that gut microbes influence the efficacy of the seasonal flu vaccine, based on experiments using mice. The discovery was made by investigators at Emory University in Atlanta.
The effect is through a Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5)-mediated interaction, which is influenced by the gut microbiome. TLR5, is a protein that plays a fundamental role in pathogen recognition and activation of innate immunity.
Together, the two modulate the immune response to influenza and unrelated pathogens. What this means is, proteins from intestinal microbes can enhance the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine. While the vaccine protects against a viral infection, certain bacterial triggers can stimulate the immune system to form protective antibodies more effectively.
Discussing the findings with The Scientist, immunologist Patrick Wilson of the University of Chicago commented: “It’s a surprise that the gut microbiota, and TLR5 in particular, can modulate the immune response to influenza and unrelated pathogens,”
The results have been published in the journal Immunity. The research is titled “TLR5-Mediated Sensing of Gut Microbiota Is Necessary for Antibody Responses to Seasonal Influenza Vaccination.”
Source: Digital Journal