The magnitude of the immune response to vaccinations can be influenced by genetic variability. In the present study, we aimed to investigate whether cytokine or cytokine receptor gene polymorphisms were associated with variations in the immune response to childhood vaccination. The study group consisted of 141 healthy infants who had been immunized with hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate (PCV7), and diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccines according to standard childhood immunization schedules. Genotype analysis was performed on genomic DNA using a 5' nuclease PCR assay. Post vaccination total, isotypic, and antigen-specific serum antibody levels were measured using multiplex immunoassays. Significant associations were observed between SNPs in the TNFalpha, IL-12B, IL-4Ralpha, and IL-10 genes and vaccine-specific immune responses (p<0.05). In addition, SNPs in the IL-1beta, TNFalpha, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-4Ralpha, and IL-12B genes were associated with variations in serum levels of immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM) and IgG isotypes (IgG1-IgG3) (p<0.05). These data suggest that genetic variations in cytokine genes can influence vaccine-induced immune responses in infants, which in turn may influence vaccine efficacy.
Toxicology and Molecular Biology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, WV 26505-2888, United States