Nasal immunity is an ancient arm of the mucosal immune system of vertebrates

Luca Tacchi, Rami Musharrafieh, Erin T Larragoite, Kyle Crossey, Erik B Erhardt, Samuel A M Martin, Scott E LaPatra, Irene Salinas* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


The mucosal surfaces of all vertebrates have been exposed to similar evolutionary pressures for millions of years. In terrestrial vertebrates such as birds and mammals, the nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) represents a first line of immune defence. Here we propose that NALT is an ancient arm of the mucosal immune system not restricted to terrestrial vertebrates. We find that NALT is present in rainbow trout and that it resembles other teleost mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues. Trout NALT consists of diffuse lymphoid cells and lacks tonsils and adenoids. The predominant B-cell subset found in trout NALT are IgT(+) B cells, similar to skin and gut. The trout olfactory organ is colonized by abundant symbiotic bacteria, which are coated by trout secretory immunoglobulin. Trout NALT is capable of mounting strong anti-viral immune responses following nasal delivery of a live attenuated viral vaccine. Our results open up a new tool for the control of aquatic infectious diseases via nasal vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5205
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2014


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