Impairment of the immune response to influenza vaccination in renal transplant recipients by cyclosporine, but not azathioprine

Transplantation. 1986 Oct;42(4):376-9. doi: 10.1097/00007890-198610000-00009.


Influenza vaccination has been strongly recommended for immunosuppressed renal transplant recipients. However, immunosuppression may lead to impaired antibody responses. We studied the antibody response to an inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine in 59 renal transplant recipients with life-sustaining kidney function: 21 were on cyclosporine and prednisone, 38 on azathioprine and prednisone. Healthy volunteers (n = 29) and patients on hemodialysis (n = 28) served as controls. Despite comparable renal allograft function, cyclosporine-treated patients had a significantly lower immune response against influenza A viruses than azathioprine-treated patients, whether mean antibody levels, fourfold titer rise, or seroconversion to protective titers was analyzed. No significant differences in antibody responses were found between healthy controls and patients on azathioprine. The patients on hemodialysis showed an impaired response to vaccination. However, in contrast to the cyclosporine-treated patients, booster immunization proved valuable in this group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Azathioprine / pharmacology*
  • Cyclosporins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cyclosporins
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Azathioprine