Objective: To determine the safety, the immunogenicity, and the increase of pre-existing autoantibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) following influenza vaccination.
Patients and methods: Eighteen women with SLE received an inactivated influenza vaccine. Antibody titers were measured before and 4 weeks after vaccination using a standardized hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assay. Disease activity and antinuclear autoantibodies were determined at study entry, at 4 weeks, and at 8 weeks after vaccination.
Results: After vaccination, the percentage of patients with anti-hemagglutinin antibody levels increased significantly but was lower than in healthy women. Mean antibody titer of patients increased significantly but also was lower than that of controls. Both the mean of disease activity and anti-ds DNA antibody decreased significantly. Adverse effects to the vaccine were mild.
Conclusions: a) Influenza vaccination appears to be safe; b). Antibody response to influenza vaccination increases significantly for all 3 influenza antigens; c) Specific antibody response is not significantly affected by treatment, age, IgG levels, or disease activity.