Evaluation of immune responses to influenza vaccination in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Julie G. Burel, Karthik Nath, Antonia L. Pritchard, Olivia J. White, Janet M. Davies, Michelle Towers, David Looke, John W. Upham

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Given that viral infections are common triggers for exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), current clinical guidelines recommend that all patients receive annual influenza vaccinations. A detailed examination of the immune response to vaccination in COPD has not previously been undertaken, so this study aimed to compare immune responses to influenza vaccination between COPD patients and healthy subjects. Methods: Twenty one COPD patients and fourteen healthy subjects were recruited and cellular immune function was assessed pre- and post- vaccination with trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. Results: One month after vaccination, H1N1 specific antibody titres were significantly lower in COPD patients than in healthy controls (p=0.02). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that post vaccination antibody titres were independently associated with COPD, but not with age or smoking status. Innate immune responses to the vaccine preparation did not differ between the two populations. Serum concentrations of IL-21, a cytokine that is important for B cell development and antibody synthesis, were also lower in COPD patients than in healthy subjects (p<0.01). In vitro functional differences were also observed, with fewer proliferating B cells expressing CD27 (p=0.04) and reduced T-cell IFN-γ synthesis (p<0.01) in COPD patients, relative to healthy subjects. Conclusions: In conclusion, COPD was associated with altered immune responses to influenza vaccination compared to healthy controls with reductions in both T-cell and B-cell function. These findings provide a foundation for future research aimed at optimising the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in COPD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vaccines & Vaccination
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2013


  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Influenza virus
  • Innate and adaptive immune response
  • Vaccination


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