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Transplantation. 2009 Jan 15;87(1):103-11. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e31818bfc85.

Adoptive immune transfer of hepatitis B virus specific immunity from immunized living liver donors to liver recipients.

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  • 1Institut für Virologie, Universitätsklinikum Essen, Virchowstrasse 179, 45122 Essen, Germany.



Liver transplantation is often the ultimate option of therapy for chronically hepatitis B virus (HBV) infected patients. Prevention of reinfection is therapy intensive and cost-effective. Adoptive transfer of HBV-specific immunity with the liver from an immune living liver donor (LLD) could be a new approach to prevent reinfection.


Forty-six potential LLDs were vaccinated against HBV. Humoral (antibodies to hepatitis B virus surface antigen [anti-HBs]-titer) and cellular (IFN-gamma-ELISpot and proliferation-assay) immune responses were examined in donors after immunization and in recipients before and after transplantation.


Anti-HBs-titers of up to 50,000 IU/L were detected in LLDs. Fourteen recipients received livers from these donors. We detected humoral immunity in one HBV-naïve recipient and in one chronically HBV-infected recipient after transplantation. A transfer of cellular immunity (SI>3) was seen in three recipients. These patients received livers from donors with high anti-HBs-titers of more than 9000 IU/L. Cellular immunity was also detected in the corresponding donors (SI >3 and spots >22).


Our study demonstrates that HBV-specific humoral and cellular immunity can be transferred by liver transplantation after vaccination of the donors. The transfer of B-cell and T-cell immunity correlates with the magnitude of immune responses in the donor.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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