Autoimmune response following influenza vaccination in patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic disease

University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Department of Rheumatology, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Lupus (Impact Factor: 2.2). 02/2012; 21(2):175-83. DOI: 10.1177/0961203311429817
Source: PubMed


Vaccines have undoubtedly brought overwhelming benefits to mankind and are considered safe and effective. Nevertheless, they can occasionally stimulate autoantibody production or even a recently defined syndrome known as autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA). There is scarce data regarding autoimmune response after seasonal/influenza A (H1N1) vaccine in patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic disease (AIRD). The objective of our study was therefore to determine autoimmune response in a large group of AIRD patients vaccinated against seasonal and/or H1N1 influenza. We conducted a prospective cohort study with a 6-month follow-up. Two-hundred and eighteen patients with AIRD (50 vaccinated against seasonal influenza, six against H1N1, 104 against both, 58 non-vaccinated controls) and 41 apparently healthy controls (nine vaccinated against seasonal influenza, three against H1N1, 18 against both, 11 non-vaccinated controls) were included. Blood samples were taken and screened for autoantibodies [antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti-extractable nuclear antigen (anti-ENA), anticardiolipin (aCL) IgG/IgM antibodies, anti-beta 2-glycoprotein I (anti-β2GPI)] at inclusion in the study, before each vaccination, 1 month after the last vaccination and 6 months after inclusion. For non-vaccinated participants (patients and healthy controls) blood samples were taken at the time of inclusion in the study and 6 months later. We report that after the administration of seasonal/H1N1 vaccine there were mostly transient changes in autoantibody production in AIRD patients and in healthy participants. However, a small subset of patients, especially ANA-positive patients, had a tendency towards anti-ENA development. Although no convincing differences between the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines were observed, our results imply that there might be a slight tendency of the H1N1 vaccine towards aCL induction. Although seasonal and H1N1 vaccines are safe and effective, they also have the potential to induce autoantibodies in selected AIRD patients and healthy adults. Follow-up of such individuals is proposed and further research is needed.

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