Background: A combination of hepatitis B immunoglobulin and nucleos(t)ide analogues is the current standard of care for controlling hepatitis B recurrence after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). However, frequent immunoglobulin treatment is expensive and inconvenient. This study investigated the efficacy of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination in preventing the recurrence of hepatitis B after living donor OLT. Methods: Twenty-seven patients who had undergone living donor OLT participated in the study; five had acute HBV infected liver failure (ALF-OLT) and 22 had HBV related liver cirrhosis (LC-OLT). Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-containing vaccine was administered to them for at least 1 year after transplantation and continued once monthly for up to 36 months post-OLT. Patients who had anti-HBs antibody titers above 100 mIU/mL for a minimum of 6 months without immunoglobulin administration were defined as good responders; the others were defined as poor responders. Interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assays against HBs and HBc antigens were used to assay cellular immune responses. Results: All five of the ALF-OLT patients had good responses after a median of four (range 2.5-5) vaccinations. Nine of the 22 LC-OLT patients had good responses after a median of 19 (range 11.5-30) vaccinations. Among the LC-OLT group, those with livers donated by relatively higher-aged, marital and high-titer anti-HBs antibody donors were good responders. LC-OLT patients classed as good responders showed interferon-γ responses comparable to those of the ALF-OLT patients. Conclusions: The ALF-OLT and LC-OLT patients who received livers from relatively higher-aged, marital, high-titer anti-HBs antibody donors were the best candidates for HBV vaccine administration. Boosting donors before transplantation may facilitate later vaccine response of the recipients.
- Hepatitis B immunoglobulin
- Immune response
- Living donor liver transplantation
- Marital donor
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