Relationship between T-lymphocyte cytokine levels and sero-response to hepatitis B vaccines

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jun 14;14(22):3534-40. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.3534.


Aim: To investigate the cellular defects by analyzing the (Th1/Th2) cytokine levels in vaccine responders and non-responders.

Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) from responders and non-responders were stimulated with or with out recombinant HBsAg or PHA. Broad spectrum of cytokines viz (Th1) IFN-gamma, IL-2, TNF-alpha, IL-12 and (Th2) IL-10, IL-4 were measured after in vitro stimulation with recombinant HBsAg and were compared with respective antibody titers.

Results: A significant decrease (P = 0.001) in Th1 and Th2 cytokines namely, IL-2, INF-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-10 in non-responders was observed. The level of IL-4 was not significant between the three groups. Furthermore, despite a strong Th1 and Th2 cytokine response, the level of IL-12 was elevated in high-responders compared to other groups (P = 0.001) and demonstrated a positive correlation with anti-HBs titers and Th1 cytokine response.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that unresponsiveness to recombinant hepatitis B vaccines (rHB) is multifactorial, including specific failure of antigen presentation or the lack of both T helper Th1 and Th2 response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects*
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / pharmacology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / pharmacology*
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma