Heterogeneity in vaccine immune response: the role of immunogenetics and the emerging field of vaccinomics

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Dec;82(6):653-64. doi: 10.1038/sj.clpt.6100415. Epub 2007 Oct 31.


Recent advances in the fields of immunology, genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and the Human Genome Project have allowed for the emergence of the field of vaccinomics. Vaccinomics encompasses the fields of immunogenetics and immunogenomics as applied to understanding the mechanisms of heterogeneity in immune responses to vaccines. In this study, we examine the role of HLA genes, cytokine genes, and cell surface receptor genes as examples of how genetic polymorphism leads to individual and population variations in immune responses to vaccines. In turn, this data, in concert with new high-throughput technology, inform the immune-response network theory to vaccine response. Such information can be used in the directed and rational development of new vaccines, and this new golden age of vaccinology has been termed "predictive vaccinology", which will predict the likelihood of a vaccine response or an adverse response to a vaccine, the number of doses needed and even whether a vaccine is likely to be of benefit (i.e., is the individual at risk for the outcome for which the vaccine is being administered?).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / genetics*
  • Biometry / methods
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Cytokines / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Genomics
  • HLA Antigens / genetics*
  • Haplotypes
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Immunogenetics / methods*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization / methods
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods
  • Twin Studies as Topic
  • Vaccines / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • HLA Antigens
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Vaccines
  • Viral Vaccines