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JCI Insight ; 7(9)2022 May 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765224


Transplant recipients exhibit an impaired protective immunity after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, potentially caused by mycophenolate (MPA) immunosuppression. Recent data from patients with autoimmune disorders suggest that temporary MPA hold might greatly improve booster vaccination outcomes. We applied a fourth dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to 29 kidney transplant recipients during a temporary (5 weeks) MPA/azathioprine hold, who had not mounted a humoral immune response to previous vaccinations. Seroconversion until day 32 after vaccination was observed in 76% of patients, associated with acquisition of virus-neutralizing capacity. Interestingly, 21/25 (84%) calcineurin inhibitor-treated patients responded, but only 1/4 belatacept-treated patients responded. In line with humoral responses, counts and relative frequencies of spike receptor binding domain-specific (RBD-specific) B cells were markedly increased on day 7 after vaccination, with an increase in RBD-specific CD27++CD38+ plasmablasts. Whereas overall proportions of spike-reactive CD4+ T cells remained unaltered after the fourth dose, frequencies were positively correlated with specific IgG levels. Importantly, antigen-specific proliferating Ki67+ and in vivo-activated programmed cell death 1-positive T cells significantly increased after revaccination during MPA hold, whereas cytokine production and memory differentiation remained unaffected. In summary, antimetabolite hold augmented all arms of immunity during booster vaccination. These data suggest further studies of antimetabolite hold in kidney transplant recipients.

Antimetabolites , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Kidney Transplantation , Antibodies, Viral , Antimetabolites/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Transplant Recipients , Vaccination
J Clin Med ; 11(6)2022 Mar 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1760679


Immunosuppression increases the risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Morbidity and mortality of this disease in kidney transplant patients are higher than in the general population. As the vaccination response of transplant patients is weak, serological monitoring was performed. In this cohort study, we analyzed the determinants of vaccination response. All patients had no history of COVID-19. With anti-spike IgG monitoring, 148 responders and 415 non-responders were identified. We compared both groups using multivariate analyses of the cohort and a sub-cohort of mycophenolic-acid-treated patients. We investigated the influence of patient characteristics, immunosuppression, and erythrocyte inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) activity. In responders, the time after transplantation was longer (13.5 vs. 8.5 years), the glomerular filtration rate was higher (56.9 vs. 47.8 mL/min/1.73 m2), and responders were younger (53.0 vs. 57.4 years). Heterologous vaccination was more effective than homologous vaccination. Calcineurin inhibitors plus mycophenolate reduced the seroconversion rate. No seroconversion was observed in belatacept patients. In mycophenolate-treated patients, IMPDH activity was a significantly better predictor of response than mycophenolate dose (AUC 0.84 vs. 0.62, p < 0.001). Immunosuppression strongly affects vaccine response. Modifications to immunosuppression should be considered in order to facilitate this response. Erythrocyte IMPDH activity can be used to guide mycophenolate treatment.