The nonresponse to hepatitis B vaccination is associated with impaired lymphocyte activation

Virology. 2004 Aug 15;326(1):20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2004.04.042.


Nonresponsiveness against hepatitis B vaccination has been described in 4-10% of immunized subjects. We have explored the specific cell response to hepatitis B surface antigen by analyzing: PBMC proliferation, cytokine production (Th1, Th2 profiles, and TGF-beta), and activation molecules on Th cells. A poor proliferative response was demonstrated in nonresponders (P < 0.05). T cells from responders produced all tested cytokines (P < 0.01), in contrast with nonresponders subjects (P < 0.05). Expression of CD69 and CD25 was diminished in T cells from nonresponders (P < 0.01). A reduced expression of CD40L was also detected in T cells from nonresponders (P < 0.01). An elevated correlation coefficient was observed between CD40L on CD4+ cells and antibody production. These results suggest an overall inability of T cells to be activated which could be consistent with potential differences in antigen presentation. In conclusion, our results suggest that an altered Th response may be a consequence of inappropriate early activation events.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • CD40 Ligand / analysis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hepatitis B / blood
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Vaccination*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD69 antigen
  • Cytokines
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • CD40 Ligand