B-sides serologic markers of immunogenicity in kidney transplanted patients: Report from 2012-2013 flu vaccination experience

Stefano Rinaldi, Alberto Cagigi, Veronica Santilli, Federica Zotta, Angela Di Martino, Maria Rita Castrucci, Isabella Donatelli, Elvira Poggi, Antonina Piazza, Andrea Campana, Isabella Guzzo, Alberto Villani, Paolo Rossi, Luca Dello Strologo, Paolo Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Safety and immunogenicity data of seasonal influenza vaccination in transplanted patients (Tps) are controversial. Preexisting cross-reactive antibodies generated by repeated vaccination with drift variant strains could bias interpretation of immunogenicity data in Tp. METHODS: The unadjuvanted 2012-2013 seasonal influenza vaccine was administered to 81 kidney Tps being routinely vaccinated against influenza and 23 healthy controls (HCs). Immunogenicity was evaluated by both strain-specific antibody responses with standard hemagglutination inhibition assay and by memory B-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot. Safety was also evaluated by measuring anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies. RESULTS: The majority of Tps were seroprotected before vaccination (81.5%, 81.5%, and 43.2% vs. 47.8%, 34.8%, and 30.4% in HC for H1N1, H3N2, and B strain, respectively) resulting into lower seroconversion rates (P≤0.01) as compared with HC (40.7%, 39.5%, and 54.3% vs. 73.9%, 82.6%, and 65.2% for H1N1, H3N2, and B strain, respectively). An inverse correlation was found between seroconversion rates and number of previous vaccinations in Tps. On the contrary, similar increase in the frequencies of strain-specific memory B cells were detected by B-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot in both Tps and HCs after vaccination. No serious adverse events have been reported. Donor-specific HLA antibodies increased in two patients after vaccination, and de novo anti-HLA antibodies were identified in two additional patients (non-donor-specific HLA antibodies). CONCLUSION: This report on safety and immunogenicity of the seasonal unadjuvanted 2012-2013 flu vaccination suggests that evaluating immunogenicity of influenza vaccination exclusively by hemagglutination inhibition assay may be misleading in individuals receiving yearly seasonal vaccines. Further investigations are required to understand the relation between vaccination and anti-HLA antibody development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-266
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2014


  • Donor-specific antibodies
  • Influenza
  • Kidney transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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