Influenza virus vaccination of patients with SLE: effects on generation of autoantibodies

Clin Rheumatol. 2002 Sep;21(5):369-72. doi: 10.1007/s100670200099.


The sera of 24 women with SLE who received influenza vaccine were tested by ELISA for anti-DNA, anticardiolipin, anti-Sm, anti-Sm/RNP, anti-Ro and anti-La. Blood samples were withdrawn at the time of vaccination and 6 and 12 weeks after vaccination. The mean age at enrolment into the study was 46.1 years. The mean disease duration was 9.1 years. SLEDAI scores were 6.6 at vaccination, 4.9 at 6 weeks and 5.1 at week 12. The vaccine was not associated with the generation of anti-DNA. At time of vaccination a single patient had anti-Sm, four patients had anti-Sm/RNP antibodies, none of the patients had anti-La antibody and six had anti-Ro antibodies. Six weeks after vaccination four, eight, nine and three patients had autoantibodies reacting with Sm, Sm/RNP, Ro and La, respectively. Twelve weeks after vaccination none of the patients had anti-Sm, three had anti-Sm/RNP, five had anti-Ro and two had anti-La antibodies. Following vaccination six and three patients developed IgG and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies, respectively. In summary, although the influenza virus vaccine is clinically safe for patients with SLE it may trigger the generation of autoantibodies. This effect is usually short term and has no clinical significance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Anticardiolipin / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Influenza, Human / immunology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vaccination / methods


  • Antibodies, Anticardiolipin
  • Autoantibodies
  • Influenza Vaccines