Live attenuated varicella vaccine elicits protection against varicella-zoster virus (VZV), but adults require two doses to achieve optimal seroconversion rates. To assess the potential role of cell-mediated immunity (CMI), T cell proliferation to VZV antigen was compared in children and adults. Mean stimulation indices (SI) in two cohorts of 39 children tested 6 weeks after vaccination were 28.6 +/- 6.21 and 22.1 +/- 3.84, whereas 20 adult vaccines had a mean SI of 9.1 +/- 0.99 (P = .04). Vaccinees had significant increases in CMI after a second dose of vaccine. At 1 year, VZV CMI was significantly lower in adults after two doses (10.0 +/- 1.13 vs. 15.6 +/- 1.77; P = .02), even though 82% of children received one dose. Limitations in the adult helper T cell response to VZV antigens may explain the need for booster doses to elicit effective immunity and the more frequent occurrence of varicella when adult vaccines are exposed to wild type virus.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995PZ87300003
View details for PubMedID 7798653