Variants within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and signal-regulatory proteins loci are associated with persistence of immunity following immunisation, new research suggests.
The genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 3,602 children in the UK and the Netherlands examined the persistence of immunity to three childhood vaccines: capsular group C meningococcal (MenC), Haemophilus influenzae type b and tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccines.
The findings, presented in Cell Reports, show variants at two genetic loci are associated with the persistence of vaccine-induced immunity following childhood immunisation.
There were associations between persistent MenC immunity and variants in a locus containing a family of signal-regulatory proteins. Four classic HLA alleles - HLA DRB1*0301, HLA DQB1*0201, HLA DQB1*0602 and HLA DRB1*1501 - were associated with TT-specific immunity.
The authors said these variants likely account for only a small portion of the genetic determinants of persistent vaccine-induced immunity but also suggest neonatal screening approaches could soon incorporate genetic risk factors that predict persistent immunity, paving the way for personalised vaccine regimens.
The researchers are now carrying out in-depth investigations into the biology of the genetic variants and are also planning research in larger cohorts and other populations to further understanding of how genetic make-up shapes vaccine responses.