Immune response to pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in patients with systemic vasculitis receiving standard of care therapy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: To study the effect of standard of care therapy on antibody response and functionality following immunization with 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in patients with primary systemic vasculitis compared to healthy controls. Methods: 49 patients with vasculitis and 49 controls received a single dose (0.5. ml) PCV13 intramuscularly. Ongoing treatments: azathioprine (AZA; n = 11), cyclophosphamide (CYC; n = 6), methotrexate (MTX; n = 9), rituximab (n = 3); anti-TNF (n = 2), mycophenolate mofetil (n = 2), prednisolone alone (n = 15) and no active treatment (n = 2). Specific antibody concentrations for serotypes 6B and 23F were determined using ELISA and opsonophagocytic activity (OPA) assay (23F) was performed, on serum samples taken immediately before and 4-6. weeks after vaccination. Proportion of individuals with putative protective antibody concentration (≥1.0. μg/mL) and positive antibody response (≥2-fold increase from prevaccination concentration) for both serotypes were calculated and groups were compared. Results: At baseline, 6 patients (12%) and 12 controls (24%) had protective antibody levels for both serotypes. After vaccination, antibodies increased for both serotypes in patients and controls (p <. 0.001), 32 patients (65%) and 35 controls (71%) reached protective level for 6B, and 32 patients (65%) and 37 controls (76%) for 23. F. Compared to controls, patients had lower prevaccination geometric mean concentration (23F, p = 0.01) and a numerical trend towards lower prevaccination level (6B) and postvaccination levels (both serotypes). Patients with prednisolone alone had lower prevaccination OPA (p <. 0.01) compared to controls. OPA increased after vaccination in both patients and controls (p <. 0.001), but improvement was better in controls (p = 0.001). AZA, CYC or MTX, but not prednisolone alone, tended towards a lower proportion of patients reaching protective antibody levels (p = 0.06), compared to controls. Conclusions: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was safe and immunogenic in patients with established vasculitis. Treatment with DMARDs, mostly AZA, CYC and MTX but not systemic prednisolone may impair antibody response. Trial registration. Identifier: NCT02240888. Registered 4 September, 2014.


External organisations
  • Central Hospital Kristianstad
  • Region Skåne
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords


  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccination, Systemic vasculitis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3639-3646
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 22
Publication categoryResearch