Independence of measles-specific humoral and cellular immune responses to vaccination

Robert M. Jacobson, Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Robert A. Vierkant, V. Shane Pankratz, Gregory A. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


With a larger, independent cohort and more sophisticated measures, we sought to confirm our work that indicated independence of humoral and cellular immunity following measles vaccination. We recruited an age-stratified random cohort of 764 healthy subjects from all socioeconomic strata, all with medical-record documentation of 2 age-appropriate doses of measles-containing vaccine. We quantified measles-specific neutralizing antibody levels and assayed the interferon-γ (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISPOT) response to measles virus. We also measured secreted cytokines from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in response to measles virus by performing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays as secondary measures of cellular immune status. The median antibody level and median IFN-γ ELISPOT response were 844 mIU/mL (interquartile range [IQR]: 418-1,752) and 36 (IQR: 13.00-69.00) spot-forming cells (per 2 × 105 PBMCs), respectively. We observed only a very weak and negative correlation (Spearman's rs or ρ of -0.090 [95% confidence interval: -0.162--0.018]). We observed a similar lack of quantitatively important correlations between the neutralizing antibody level and any of the secondary measures. Our data confirm the independence of humoral and cellular immune responses after the second dose of measles vaccination. As researchers pursue novel measles vaccine and measles vaccine delivery systems, they must not infer that humoral responses predict cellular responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-479
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Antibody formation
  • Cytokines
  • Immunity, cellular
  • Immunity, humoral
  • Measles vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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