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Does Chronic Kidney Disease Affect Vaccine Response?

PLoS One; 2018 Apr 16; Wall, et al

Although patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) don’t respond as well to vaccines and are more likely to develop infection, their antibody response to common antigens encountered before they developed CKD does not appear to be compromised, according to a recent study. Among the findings:

  • To evaluate immune responses to vaccines and pathogens in this patient population, investigators tested antibody responses to tetanus and diphtheria toxoids and to cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SEn).
  • The toxoids and pathogens were given to age-matched CKD patients and controls.
  • Both groups had similar levels of IgG against tetanus and diphtheria, which suggests they still have humoral memory responses to antigens they were exposed to early in life, before they developed kidney disease.
  • Similarly, IgG responses to pathogens in CKD patients were not inferior to controls.
  • Researchers concluded that CKD patients may respond poorly to new vaccines but evidently not to antigens encountered before the onset of CKD.


Wall NA, Dominguez-Medina CC, Faustini SE, et al. Humoral immunity to memory antigens and pathogens is maintained in patients with chronic kidney disease. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0195730. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0195730.