New findings from a meta-analysis investigating the basic reasons underlying why some people’s immune systems respond differently to immunizations, which might have far-reaching ramifications for vaccine development and administration.
New findings from a meta-analysis published in Nature Immunology investigate the basic reasons underlying why certain people’s immune systems react differently to immunizations, which might have far-reaching consequences for vaccine development and administration.
Emory researchers analysed the molecular characteristics of 820 healthy young adults who were immunised with 13 different vaccines as part of a series of studies for The Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC), a network of national research institutions studying the range of responses to different infections and vaccinations.
Based on the intensity of inflammatory response prior to vaccination, the subjects were divided into three endotypes, or groups with similar gene expression: a high inflammatory group, a low inflammatory group, and a mid-inflammatory group. Researchers discovered that the group with the greatest levels of inflammation prior to vaccination had the biggest antibody response after evaluating the immunological changes that happened in individuals following immunisation.
“We were shocked since inflammation is normally portrayed as a bad thing,” says Slim Fourati, PhD, bioinformatic research associate at Emory University and the paper’s first author. “These findings suggest that some forms of inflammation might actually promote a higher response to a vaccination.”
Fourati, Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, the paper’s senior author, and the HIPC team found unique biomarkers and cellular traits that described the pre-vaccination inflammatory signature, information that may be used to forecast how well a person will respond to a vaccine.
“With our new understanding of what features of the immune system permit a more robust response, vaccinations may be customised to trigger this response and enhance their efficiency,” Fourati adds.
“However, we still have more questions.”
More study is needed to find out what causes this inflammation in otherwise healthy persons. Furthermore, Fourati believes that future research should focus on how these indicators assist vaccination protection in older age groups and immunocompromised people.
These findings, which were published concurrently with three additional HIPC trials by Yale School of Medicine, Stanford University, University of Cincinnati, Harvard Medical School, and Columbia University Medical Center, have the potential to increase vaccination response across all individuals. A better knowledge of how different pre-vaccine immunological states influence antibody responses provides the door to changing these states in particularly susceptible individuals.
For example, scientists may combine an adjuvant with the vaccination in individuals who are projected to have a lesser immune response in order to activate the inflammatory genes linked with better protection.
This research will contribute to better, more efficient clinical trials for the development of novel vaccinations.