Cellular response and anti-HBs synthesis in vitro after vaccination with yeast-derived recombinant hepatitis vaccine

Alberto Degrassi, Erminia Mariani, Maria Cristina Honorati, Patrizia Roda, Rita Miniero, Maurizio Capelli, Andrea Facchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two groups of subjects receiving two different doses of yeast-derived recombinant hepatitis B surface antigen (rHBsAg) (10 μg Gen-HB-Vax, Merck Sharp and Dohme and 20 μg Engerix-B, Smith Kline and French) were investigated for in vitro specific humoral and cellular response to the native protein. In vitro proliferative response was dependent on the following critical variables: (1) antigen-specific precursor lymphocytes were present in the peripheral blood for a very short time; (2) the number of circulating specific precursors was dependent on the dose of HBsAg used for vaccination; (3) the presence of antigen-presenting cells was necessary to obtain a blastogenic response in vitro. In vitro proliferation was enhanced by the addition of recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL-2). Spontaneous and stimulated (anti-CD3, pokeweed mitogen) anti-HBs antibody production in vitro was obtained in only eight out of 20 subjects after the fourth boost. Although a different immunogenicity of the two vaccines cannot be excluded, these data strongly suggest that T and B cells responsive to HBsAg present different kinetics of recirculation in the peripheral blood, depending on the antigen dose used for immunization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-622
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Hepatitis B
  • immune response
  • recombinant hepatitis B surface antigen
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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