The adjuvanted varicella-zoster virus (VZV) glycoprotein E (gE) subunit herpes zoster vaccine (HZ/su) confers higher protection against HZ than the live attenuated zoster vaccine (ZV). To understand the immunologic basis for the different efficacies of the vaccines, we compared immune responses to the vaccines in adults 50 to 85 years old. gE-specific T cells were very low/undetectable before vaccination when analyzed by FluoroSpot and flow cytometry. Both ZV and HZ/su increased gE-specific responses, but at peak memory response (PMR) after vaccination (30 days after ZV or after the second dose of HZ/su), gE-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses were 10-fold or more higher in HZ/su compared with ZV recipients. Comparing the vaccines, T cell memory responses, including gE–IL-2+ and VZV–IL-2+ spot-forming cells (SFCs), were higher in HZ/su recipients and cytotoxic and effector responses were lower. At 1 year after vaccination, all gE-Th1 and VZV–IL-2+ SFCs remained higher in HZ/su compared with ZV recipients. Mediation analyses showed that IL-2+ PMR were necessary for the persistence of Th1 responses to either vaccine and VZV–IL-2+ PMR explained 73% of the total effect of HZ/su on persistence. This emphasizes the biological importance of the memory responses, which were clearly superior in HZ/su compared with ZV participants.
Myron J. Levin, Miranda E. Kroehl, Michael J. Johnson, Andrew Hammes, Dominik Reinhold, Nancy Lang, Adriana Weinberg
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.