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Exp Gerontol. 2004 Oct;39(10):1447-58.

Immunomodulating effect of influenza vaccination in the elderly differing in health status.

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Department of Histology and Immunology, Medical University of Gdańsk, ul. Debinki 1, 80-210 Gdańsk, Poland.


The aim of this study was to analyse whether split influenza vaccine may elicit NK cytotoxic response in the vaccinated elderly people and whether this effect may be maintained over few weeks after vaccination. It was also worth investigating the relation between NK activity in the vaccinated and specific immune protection against influenza and non-specific against other infections. Two groups of volunteers were vaccinated with trivalent split viron influenza vaccine in two consecutive seasons (1999/2000; 2000/2001). The elderly group consisted of 142 people (65-92 years old) in the first season and 110 in the second; while the young (16-44 years old) of 98 and 67 people, respectively. An analysis of NK cytotoxic activity had been done before vaccination, two days, one month and fifth months thereafter. The results revealed that vaccination with the influenza vaccine had an augmenting effect on NK activity, in all groups examined, in both epidemic seasons, visible at two days and 1 month after the vaccination. In the elderly high pre- and post-vaccination NK activity was related to higher titers of anti-hemagglutinin, better health status and lower incidence of all cause respiratory tract infections. At the second vaccination, most of the elderly with chronic medical conditions and high NK activity, who did not attain the protective level of anti-hemagglutinins in the first season, converted into the protected. High pre- and post-vaccination NK activity predisposes elderly people to the protective humoral anti-hemagglutinin response and gives better protection from respiratory tract infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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