Indexed on: 29 Apr '14Published on: 29 Apr '14Published in: Transplantation Proceedings
Donor shortages occasionally necessitate the use of hepatic allografts from hepatitis B core antibody-positive (HBcAb+) donors, with an attendant risk of post-transplantation hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The aim of the present study was to develop and evaluate a protocol of active immunization for prevention of post-transplantation de novo HBV infection in patients receiving liver grafts from HBcAb+ donors.Ten patients who had received HBcAb+ liver grafts at Shinshu University Hospital between October 1996 and December 2012 were enrolled. All the recipients were negative for HBV serological tests, and HBV-DNA. Hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) was given routinely in the peritransplantation and post-transplantation periods, without antiviral drugs. Subcutaneous vaccination with recombinant HBV was given at a dosage of 20 μg in adults and 5 μg in children concomitant with HBIG until acquisition of active immunization. The timing to start HBV vaccination was dependent on the condition of the patient.The median follow-up period after liver transplantation was 140 months, and the median period after transplantation until the start of vaccination was 7.0 months. Nine patients (90%) acquired active immunity after a median number of 4 (range, 2-13) vaccinations (hepatitis B surface antibody >300 mIU/mL for 1 year, or >100 mIU/mL thereafter), and did not require HBIG administration thereafter. None had any side effects of HBV vaccination or developed hepatitis B infection during the study period. Four fast responders who achieved antibody high titers by active immunization within 9 months received pretransplantation vaccinations, whereas 5 slow responders did not.Our vaccination protocol provides a new effective strategy for prevention of de novo hepatitis B infection after liver transplantation in recipients with HBcAb+ liver grafts. Pretransplantation HBV vaccination was helpful for the post-transplantation vaccine response.