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Dig Dis Sci. 1988 Mar;33(3):263-9.

Hepatitis B vaccination. Response of alcoholic with and without liver injury.

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VA Medical Center, Hepatic Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220.

Erratum in

  • Dig Dis Sci 1994 Jan;39(1):224.


Alcoholics are at risk to develop hepatitis B infections, chronic active hepatitis, and even hepatoma. Hence, immunization with hepatitis B vaccine is recommended. However, immune abnormalities may coexist which alter their responsiveness to vaccination. This study compares the immune response to this vaccine in controls (group I), alcoholics without overt liver disease (group II), and alcoholics with clinical liver disease (group III). By the seventh month after the initial vaccination, 89% in group I, 70% in group II, and 18% in group III had a response greater than 36 RIA units. The magnitude of the response was significantly different in groups I, II, and III (19,456 vs 8,326 vs 153 RIA units, respectively; P less than 0.05, group I vs III). In those who did not respond, a significant (P less than 0.02) lower helper/inducer (T4) class of lymphocytes was observed as compared to patients who exhibited an adequate response. These observations suggest: (1) that the response to hepatitis B vaccine is a T-cell-dependent event and (2) that in this population, using the existing vaccine, postvaccination evaluations of antibody concentrations are needed before protection against hepatitis B infection can be assumed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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