Mycophenolate and lower graft function reduce the seroresponse of kidney transplant recipients to pandemic H1N1 vaccination

In late 2009 transplant organizations recommended that kidney recipients be vaccinated for pandemic H1N1 influenza (pH1N1); however, the vaccine efficacy was unknown. We had offered a monovalent non-adjuvanted pH1N1 vaccine to transplant recipients. Here we compared the pre- and post-vaccination seroresponses of 151 transplant recipients to that of 71 hemodialysis patients and 30 healthy controls.


Baseline seroprotection was similar between groups but was significantly different at 1 month (44, 56, and 87%, respectively). Seroconversion was significantly less common for transplant recipients (32%) than dialysis patients (45%) and healthy controls (77%). After adjusting for age and gender, dialysis patients were significantly more likely (2.7-fold) to achieve new seroprotection than transplant recipients. The likelihood of seroprotection in transplant recipients was significantly reduced by mycophenolate use (adjusted odds ratio 0.24), in a dose-dependent manner, and by reduced eGFR (adjusted odds ratio 0.16 for worst to best). Seroprotection and geometric mean antibody titers increased substantially in 49 transplant recipients who subsequently received the 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine. Thus, patients requiring renal replacement therapy had reduced seroresponses to vaccination with the monovalent vaccine compared with healthy controls. Transplant recipient responses were further reduced if they were receiving mycophenolate or had significantly lower graft function.


Authors: William R Mulley, Kumar Visvanathan, Aeron C Hurt, Fiona G Brown, Kevan R Polkinghorne, Tasoula Mastorakos, Michelle C Lewicki, Rhonda L Stuart, Sven-Jean Tan, Roy Chean, Peter G Kerr and John Kanellis

Reference: Kidney International 82: 212-219; Published online, 11 April 2012; doi:10.1038/ki.2012.106

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