Immune responses to tetanus vaccination in Italian healthy subjects and children with recurrent infections.

S. Graziani, M. L. Romiti, C. Capponi, S. Di Cesare, S. Corrente, E. Monteferrario, A. Di Paolo, C. De Marchis, L. Chini, V. Moschese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of vaccine antigen to generate protection is a challenge that cannot be restricted to the antibody response; however, the contribution of T cell-mediated mechanisms has not been extensively analyzed. Age and administration to specific categories of patients, i.e. children with recurrent infections (RI), are some of the factors that might affect the vaccine immune response. We investigated the humoral and cellular response to tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine in 104 healthy children (HC), 11 newborns and 22 healthy adults to characterize the status of immunity according to age and compared it to 118 RI children. Humoral and cellular responses varied in both groups according to age and doses of TT administered. The prevalence of antibody and cellular response was similar in both cohorts (HC 88 percent and 82 percent versus RI 86 percent and 85 percent), however, TT antibody values were significantly higher in 12-18 months old RI children compared to HC (median: 5 IU/ml vs 1.10 IU/ml) (p = 0.02). The lack of an efficient immune response was observed in 12-15 percent of children from both cohorts. Our data showed that specific antibodies were responsible for early protection, whereas cell-mediated mechanisms may contribute to the generation of long-term immunity after an appropriate vaccine recall. The occurrence of higher TT antibody values in 12-18 months old RI children deserves additional research to determine whether they are caused by different infectious agents and/or by other environmental factors. Clarification of this issue is important for categorizing patients into an optimal vaccine policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cancer Research


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