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Understanding the generation of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in lymphoid tissues draining the site of infection has implications for immunity to SARS-CoV-2. We performed tonsil biopsies under local anesthesia in 19 subjects who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection 24-225 d previously. The biopsies yielded >3 million cells for flow cytometric analysis in 17 subjects. Total and SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific germinal center B cells, and T follicular helper cells, were readily detectable in human tonsils early after SARS-CoV-2 infection, as assessed by flow cytometry. Responses were higher in samples within 2 mo of infection but still detectable in some subjects out to 7 mo following infection. We conclude the tonsils are a secondary lymphoid organ that develop germinal center responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and could play a role in the long-term development of immunity. Copyright © 2022 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.


Hyon-Xhi Tan, Kathleen M Wragg, Hannah G Kelly, Robyn Esterbauer, Benjamin J Dixon, Jillian S Y Lau, Katie L Flanagan, Carolien E van de Sandt, Katherine Kedzierska, James H McMahon, Adam K Wheatley, Jennifer A Juno, Stephen J Kent. Cutting Edge: SARS-CoV-2 Infection Induces Robust Germinal Center Activity in the Human Tonsil. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2022 May 15;208(10):2267-2271

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PMID: 35487578

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