T cell activation markers CD38 and HLA-DR indicative of non-seroconversion in anti-CD20-treated patients with multiple sclerosis following SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination

T2B! immunity against SARS-CoV-2 study group, Niels J. M. Verstegen, Ruth R. Hagen, Christine Kreher, Lisan H. Kuijper, Jet van den Dijssel, Thomas Ashhurst, Laura Y. L. Kummer, Virginia Palomares Cabeza, Maurice Steenhuis, Mariël C. Duurland, Rivka de Jongh, C. Ellen van der Schoot, Veronique A. L. Konijn, Erik Mul, Katherine Kedzierska, Koos P. J. van Dam, Eileen W. Stalman, Laura Boekel, Gertjan WolbinkSander W. Tas, Joep Killestein, Theo Rispens, Luuk Wieske, Taco W. Kuijpers, Filip Eftimov, Zoé L. E. van Kempen, S. Marieke van Ham, Anja ten Brinke, Carolien E. van de Sandt, A. J. vd Kooi, J. Raaphorst, A. H. Koos Zwinderman, M. Löwenberg, A. G. Volkers, G. R. A. M. D'Haens, R. B. Takkenberg, P. I. Spuls, M. W. Bekkenk, A. H. Musters, N. F. Post, A. L. Bosma, M. L. Hilhorst, Y. Vegting, F. J. Bemelman, L. Fernandez, S. Keijzer, J. B. D. Keijser, O. Cristianawati, A. E. Voskuyl, A. M. Ruiter, B. Broens, S. Nejentsev, E. S. Mirfazeli

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Background Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines provide robust protection against SARS-CoV-2 in healthy individuals. However, immunity after vaccination of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with ocrelizumab (OCR), a B cell-depleting anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, is not yet fully understood. Methods In this study, deep immune profiling techniques were employed to investigate the immune response induced by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in untreated patients with MS (n=21), OCR-treated patients with MS (n=57) and healthy individuals (n=30). Results Among OCR-treated patients with MS, 63% did not produce detectable levels of antibodies (non-seroconverted), and those who did have lower spike receptor-binding domain-specific IgG responses compared with healthy individuals and untreated patients with MS. Before vaccination, no discernible immunological differences were observed between non-seroconverted and seroconverted OCR-treated patients with MS. However, non-seroconverted patients received overall more OCR infusions, had shorter intervals since their last OCR infusion and displayed higher OCR serum concentrations at the time of their initial vaccination. Following two vaccinations, non-seroconverted patients displayed smaller B cell compartments but instead exhibited more robust activation of general CD4+ and CD8+ T cell compartments, as indicated by upregulation of CD38 and HLA-DR surface expression, when compared with seroconverted patients. Conclusion These findings highlight the importance of optimising treatment regimens when scheduling SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for OCR-treated patients with MS to maximise their humoral and cellular immune responses. This study provides valuable insights for optimising vaccination strategies in OCR-treated patients with MS, including the identification of CD38 and HLA-DR as potential markers to explore vaccine efficacy in non-seroconverting OCR-treated patients with MS.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjnnp-2023-332224
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Early online date2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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