Open Access Open Badges Research article

Humoral and cellular responses to a non-adjuvanted monovalent H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine in hospital employees

Ma Teresa Herrera1, Yolanda Gonzalez1, Esmeralda Juárez1, Fernando Hernández-Sánchez1, Claudia Carranza1, Carmen Sarabia1, Silvia Guzman-Beltran1, Ma Eugenia Manjarrez2, Marcela Muñoz-Torrico1, Lourdes Garcia-Garcia3, Eduardo Sada1 and Martha Torres1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosío Villegas, Tlalpan 4502, Tlalpan, Mexico City 14080, Mexico

2 Department of Virology, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosío Villegas, Tlalpan 4502, Tlalpan, Mexico City 14080, Mexico

3 Centro de Investigacion sobre Enfermedades Infecciosas, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, Cuernavaca, Mexico

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:544  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-544

Published: 15 November 2013



The efficacy of the H1N1 influenza vaccine relies on the induction of both humoral and cellular responses. This study evaluated the humoral and cellular responses to a monovalent non-adjuvanted pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine in occupationally exposed subjects who were previously vaccinated with a seasonal vaccine.


Sixty healthy workers from a respiratory disease hospital were recruited. Sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained prior to and 1 month after vaccination with a non-adjuvanted monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine (Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine Panenza, Sanofi Pasteur). Antibody titers against the pandemic A/H1N1 influenza virus were measured via hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and microneutralization assays. Antibodies against the seasonal HA1 were assessed by ELISA. The frequency of IFN-γ-producing cells as well as CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation specific to the pandemic virus A/H1N peptides, seasonal H1N1 peptides and seasonal H3N2 peptides were assessed using ELISPOT and flow cytometry.


At baseline, 6.7% of the subjects had seroprotective antibody titers. The seroconversion rate was 48.3%, and the seroprotection rate was 66.7%. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) were significantly increased (from 6.8 to 64.9, p < 0.05). Forty-nine percent of the subjects had basal levels of specific IFN-γ-producing T cells to the pandemic A/H1N1 peptides that were unchanged post-vaccination. CD4+ T cell proliferation in response to specific pandemic A/H1N1 virus peptides was also unchanged; in contrast, the antigen-specific proliferation of CD8+ T cells significantly increased post-vaccination.


Our results indicate that a cellular immune response that is cross-reactive to pandemic influenza antigens may be present in populations exposed to the circulating seasonal influenza virus prior to pandemic or seasonal vaccination. Additionally, we found that the pandemic vaccine induced a significant increase in CD8+ T cell proliferation.

Pandemic influenza; H1N1; Vaccine; Cellular response; Proliferation; Humoral response