Genetically defined race, but not sex, is associated with higher humoral and cellular immune responses to measles vaccination

Emily A. Voigt, Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Iana H. Haralambieva, Richard B. Kennedy, Beth R. Larrabee, Daniel J. Schaid, Gregory A. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In addition to host genetic and environmental factors, variations in immune responses to vaccination are influenced by demographic variables, such as race and sex. The influence of genetic race and sex on measles vaccine responses is not well understood, yet important for the development of much-needed improved measles vaccines with lower failure rates. We assessed associations between genetically defined race and sex with measles humoral and cellular immunity after measles vaccination in three independent and geographically distinct cohorts totaling 2872 healthy racially diverse children, older adolescents, and young adults. We found no associations between biological sex and either humoral or cellular immunity to measles vaccine, and no correlation between humoral and cellular immunity in these study subjects. Genetically defined race was, however, significantly associated with both measles vaccine-induced humoral and cellular immune responses, with subjects genetically classified as having African-American ancestry demonstrating significantly higher antibody and cell-mediated immune responses relative to subjects of Caucasian ancestry. This information may be useful in designing novel measles vaccines that are optimally effective across human genetic backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4913-4919
Number of pages7
Issue number41
StatePublished - Sep 22 2016


  • Continental population groups
  • Immunity, cellular
  • Immunity, humoral
  • Measles
  • Measles vaccine
  • Measles virus
  • Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine
  • Sex factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetically defined race, but not sex, is associated with higher humoral and cellular immune responses to measles vaccination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this