Humoral and cellular immune responses after influenza vaccination in kidney transplant recipients

Am J Transplant. 2009 Oct;9(10):2346-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02787.x. Epub 2009 Jul 28.


It has been speculated that influenza vaccination of renal allograft recipients could be associated with de novo production and/or increased titers of anti-HLA antibodies (HLA-Ab). To directly address this issue, we recruited 66 stable renal transplant recipients and 19 healthy volunteers during the 2005-2006 vaccination campaign. At day 0 and day 30 following vaccination, HLA-Ab were screened and in parallel influenza-specific antibody and T-cell responses were assessed. Humoral postvaccinal responses to A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 strains, but not B strain, were less frequent in transplanted patients than in control subjects. Significant expansion of influenza-specific IFN-gamma-producing T cells was observed at similar frequencies in patients and controls. There was no correlation between cellular and humoral postvaccinal responses. No impact of sex, age or immunosuppressive regimen could be evidenced. Vaccination was not associated with any significant change in preexisting or de novo anti-HLA sensitization. No episode of allograft rejection was recorded in any of the patients. Our results suggest that flu vaccination is safe in stable renal transplanted patients. Larger studies are needed for definitive statistical proof of the safety and effectiveness, with regard to the quality of the immune response, of yearly influenza vaccination in immunosuppressed patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / immunology
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / immunology
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Influenza Vaccines