Center for Animal Biotechnology  CAB : Immunology : Cellular Immunology

Cellular Immunology


This program aims to understand the role of immune cells and immune mediators in the regulation of the immune system.


Original airbrush painting by J-P Scheerlinck representing major steps in the induction of antibodies to T cell dependent antigens.

Research outline

Local immune responses

Jean-Pierre Scheerlinck

The regulation of immune responses at the cellular level is mediated by a range of cytokines and surface molecules on different types of cells. The complex interplay of soluble and surface-bound molecules results in a tightly regulated system that distinguishes self-antigens from foreign molecules. This allows the immune system to protect the body against infectious diseases and other forms of harmful events. Most of these interactions take place at the level of the lymph node draining the site of infection.

The Cellular Immunology Laboratory studies key events at the level of the local lymph node that lead to the generation of appropriate immune responses. This can be achieved in sheep by cannulating the afferent and efferent lymphatics draining into and out of an individual lymph node. By studying the induction of different cytokines and the cells trafficking in the lymphatics, we are able to better understand the mechanisms leading to the induction of both systemic and mucosal immune responses.

Key publications

  • Mahakapuge T. A. N., J-P. Y. Scheerlinck, C. A. Alvarez Rojas, A. L. Every and J. Hagen (2016) Assessment of reference genes for reliable analysis of gene trasncription by RT-qPCR in ovine leukocytes. Vet Immunol Immunopathol.171, 1-6
  • Yen H-H., J-P. Y. Scheerlinck, S. Gekas and P. Sutton (2006) A sheep cannulation model for evaluation of nasal vaccine delivery. Methods 38: 117-123
  • Windon R., P. J. Chaplin, P. McWaters, M. Tavarnesi, M. Tzatzaris, W. G. Kimpton, R. N. P. Cahill, L. Beezum, A. Coulter, D. Drane, A. Sjölander, M. Pearse, J.-P. Y. Scheerlinck and J. Tennent (2001). Local immune responses to influenza antigen are synergistically enhanced by the adjuvant ISCOMATRIX. Vaccine 20(3-4): 490-497.
  • Windon R., P. J. Chaplin, L. Beezum, A. Coulter, R. Cahill, W. Kimpton, A. Sjölander, D. Drane, J. Tennent and J-P. Y. Scheerlinck (2000). Induction of lymphocyte recruitment in the absence of a detectable immune response. Vaccine 19(4-5): 572-578.

Cell trafficking

Jean-Pierre Scheerlinck

The Cellular Immunology Laboratory is interested in the migration of immune cells to different sites in the body and the mechanisms, by which cell-trafficking is regulated. These two aspects are important in the rational design of effective immunisation strategies for improved vaccines active at mucosal or peripheral tissue sites. The first hypothesis of the importance of the functional T cell phenotype (eg. Th1 and Th2) in determining the migration and localisation of antigen-specific T cells was developed from our T cell studies in sheep.

Proposed model for tissue-specific T cell migration (Reprinted from Meeusen et al. Immunology Today Vol 17 p.423. Copyright (1996), with permission from Elsevier Science.)

Key publications

  • Saxena V. K., A Diaz and J-P. Y. Scheerlinck (2019). Identificavtion and characterization of an M cell marker in nasopharynx- and oropharynx-associated lymph tissue in sheep. Vet Immunol Immunoathol 208, 1-5 Scheerlinck J-P Y. and H-H. Yen (2005). Veterinary Applications of Cytokines. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. 108(1-2): 17–22.
  • Meeusen E.N.T, Premier R.R. and Brandon M.R. (1996). Tissue-specific migration of lymphocytes: a key role for Th1 and Th2 cells? Immunology Today 17: 421–424.
  • Egan PJ. Kimpton W., Seow HF. Bowles VM. Brandon MR. Nash AD. (1996). Inflammation induced changes in the phenotype and cytokine profile of cells migrating through the skin and afferent lymph. Immunology 89:539–546.
  • Hanrahan, C.F., Kimpton W.G., Howard C.J., Parsons K.R., Brandon M.R., Andrews A.E., Nash A.D. (1997) Cellular requirements for the activation and proliferation of ruminant gd T cells. Journal of Immunology 159(9):4287–4294.
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