Deficient T-cell responses in non-responders to hepatitis B vaccination: absence of TH1 cytokine production

Immunol Lett. 1994 Feb;39(2):163-8. doi: 10.1016/0165-2478(94)90102-3.


The inability to mount a protective level (> or = 10 IU/l) of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-specific antibodies after vaccination is presumably the consequence of a defect in the cellular immune regulation. We compared the in vitro immune responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from high, intermediate and non-responders, after stimulation with recombinant HBsAg. The absence of a proliferative response in non-responders was not reversed by removal of CD8+ T cells, indicating that HBsAg-specific CD8+ T-cell-induced suppression was not the underlying cause of non-responsiveness. Non-responders did not produce cytokines after HBsAg stimulation. High responders displayed a typical Th1-like profile since their PBMC produced interleukin-2 (IL-2) and gamma-interferon (IFN gamma) and no detectable IL-4 or IL-5 upon stimulation with HBsAg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Recombinant Proteins