A prospective, comparative study of the immune response to inactivated influenza vaccine in pediatric liver transplant recipients and their healthy siblings

Rebecca Pellett Madan, Maria Tan, Ana Fernandez-Sesma, Thomas M. Moran, Sukru Emre, Andrew Campbell, Betsy C. Herold

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58 Scopus citations


Background. Annual influenza vaccination is routinely recommended for pediatric solid organ transplant recipients. However, there are limited data defining the immune response to the inactivated vaccine in this population. Methods. This prospective study compared the humoral and cell-mediated immune responses to the trivalent subvirion influenza vaccine in pediatric liver transplant recipients with those in their healthy siblings. All subjects received inactivated influenza vaccine. Hemagglutination inhibition and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assays for New Caledonia and Shanghai strains were performed at baseline, after each vaccine dose, and 3 months after the series. Seroconversion was defined as a 4-fold increase in antibody titers; seroprotection was defined as an antibody titer ≥1:40. An increase in the number of T cells secreting IFN-γ was considered to be a positive enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot response. Results. After 1 dose of vaccine, transplant recipients achieved rates of antibody seroprotection and seroconversion that were similar to those achieved by their healthy siblings. However, for both influenza strains, IFN-γ responses by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot were significantly attenuated in transplant recipients after 2 doses of vaccine. No cases of influenza or vaccine-related serious adverse events were documented in the study. Conclusions. The diminished cell-mediated immune response to influenza vaccination that was observed in pediatric liver transplant recipients suggests that the current vaccine strategy may not provide optimal protection. Because of concerns regarding potential emergence of more virulent influenza strains, further studies are warranted to determine if IFN-γ responses are predictive of efficacy and to identify the optimal vaccination strategy to protect populations with a high risk of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-718
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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