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

J Vingerhoets, Guido Vanham, Luc Kestens, G Penne, G Leroux-Roels, P Gigase

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • B780-tropical-medicine
  • Virology
  • Hepatitis B
  • Vaccination
  • T-cells
  • Cytokines
  • Immunology

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