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Impact of ageing and a synbiotic on the immune response to seasonal influenza vaccination; a randomised controlled trial

Enani, S., Przemska-Kosicka, A., Childs, C. E. , Maidens, C., Dong, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-2225-7256, Conterno, L., Tuohy, K. M., Todd, S., Gosney, M. A. & Yaqoob, P. (2018). Impact of ageing and a synbiotic on the immune response to seasonal influenza vaccination; a randomised controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, 37(2), pp. 443-451. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.01.011


Background & aims
Ageing increases risk of respiratory infections and impairs the response to influenza vaccination. Pre- and pro-biotics offer an opportunity to modulate anti-viral defenses and the response to vaccination via alteration of the gut microbiota. This study investigated the effect of a novel probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum bv. infantis CCUG 52486, combined with a prebiotic, gluco-oligosaccharide, on the B and T cell response to seasonal influenza vaccination in young and older subjects .

In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, 58 young (18–35 y) and 54 older (60–85 y) subjects were supplemented with the synbiotic for 8 weeks. At 4 weeks they were administered with a seasonal influenza vaccine. B and T cell phenotype and responsiveness to in vitro re-stimulation with the vaccine were assessed at baseline, 4, 6 and 8 weeks.

B and T cell profiles differed markedly between young and older subjects. Vaccination increased numbers of memory, IgA+ memory, IgG+ memory and total IgG+ B cells in young subjects, but failed to do so in older subjects and did not significantly alter T cell subsets. Seroconversion to the H1N1 subunit in the older subjects was associated with higher post-vaccination numbers of plasma B cells, but seroconversion was less consistently associated with T cell phenotype. B and T cell subsets from both young and older subjects demonstrated a strong antigen-specific recall challenge, and although not influenced by age, responsiveness to the recall challenge was associated with seroconversion. In older subjects, CMV seropositivity was associated with a significantly lower recall response to the vaccine, but the synbiotic did not affect the responsiveness of B or T cells to re-stimulation with influenza vaccine.

Antigen-specific B and T cell activation following an in vitro recall challenge with the influenza vaccine was influenced by CMV seropositivity, but not by a synbiotic.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Publisher Keywords: Ageing, Influenza, Probiotic, Lymphocyte, Vaccination
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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