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Humoral Response to 2-dose BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination in Liver Transplant Recipients

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Jul;20(7):1534-1541.e4 doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2022.01.012.

In the context of the Italian severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccination program, liver transplant (LT) recipients were prioritized for vaccine administration, although the lower response to vaccines is a well-known problem in this population. We aimed to evaluate immunogenicity of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in LT recipients and healthy controls and to identify factors associated with negative response to vaccine.


In a cohort of adult patients with LT, we prospectively evaluated the humoral response (with anti-Spike protein IgG-LIAISON SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2-IgG chemiluminescent assay) at 1 and 3 months after 2-dose vaccination. A group of 307 vaccinated health care workers, matched by age and sex, served as controls.


Overall, 492 LT patients were enrolled (75.41% male; median age, 64.85 years). Detectable antibodies were observed in the 75% of patients, with a median value of 73.9 AU/mL after 3 months from 2-dose vaccination. At multivariable analysis, older age (>40 years; P = .016), shorter time from liver transplantation (<5 years; P = .004), and immunosuppression with antimetabolites (P = .029) were significantly associated with non-response to vaccination. Moreover, the LT recipients showed antibody titers statistically lower than the control group (103 vs 261 AU/mL; P < .0001). Finally, in both controls and LT patients, we found a trend of inverse correlation between age and antibody titers (correlation coefficients: -0.2023 and -0.2345, respectively).


Three months after vaccination, LT recipients showed humoral response in 75% of cases. Older age, shorter time from transplantation, and use of antimetabolites were factors associated with non-response to vaccination, and LT recipients at risk of non-response to vaccination needed to be kept under close monitoring.

Organ: Liver
Language: English
Country: Italy
MeSH terms: Adult; Antibodies, Viral; Antimetabolites; BNT162 Vaccine; COVID-19; COVID-19 Vaccines; Female; Humans; Immunoglobulin G; Liver Transplantation; Male; Middle Aged; RNA, Messenger; SARS-CoV-2; Transplant Recipients; Vaccination; Vaccines, Synthetic; mRNA Vaccines