Ageing of Immune System and Response to a Live-Attenuated Herpes Zoster Vaccine in Lung Transplant Candidates

Lei Wang, Erik A. M. Verschuuren, Davy Paap, Christien Rondaan, Elisabeth Raveling-Eelsing, Siqi Liu, Johanna Westra, Nicolaas A. Bos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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The mean age of lung transplant recipients has significantly increased in recent decades. Elderly recipients have a higher risk of developing herpes zoster (HZ), and they have in general a worse response to vaccination than younger persons do. We investigated the relationship between the humoral and cellular immune response to a live-attenuated HZ vaccine (Zostavax(R), Merck Sharp and Dohme) and the frequencies of T and B cell subsets, especially aged cell subsets (CD28-T cells and age associated B cells, ABCs). In total, 37 patients awaiting lung transplantation received one dose of Zostavax(R), and peripheral blood was collected before and within 6 months after vaccination. We observed a robust immune response after vaccination. The frequencies of CD28-T cells before vaccination had no impact on the subsequent immune response to HZ vaccination. However, a higher frequency of ABCs before vaccination correlated with a lower immune response especially regarding the cellular immune response. Cytomegalovirus seropositivity was associated with increased frequencies of CD28-T cells but not with frequencies of ABCs in the patients. In conclusion, increased levels of ABCs might disturb the cellular immune response to HZ vaccination, which could lower the efficacy of such vaccination in elderly transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number202
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021


  • lung transplantation
  • ageing
  • herpes zoster vaccine
  • age associated B cells

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