Research Article: 17DD and 17D-213/77 Yellow Fever Substrains Trigger a Balanced Cytokine Profile in Primary Vaccinated Children

Date Published: December 10, 2012

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Ana Carolina Campi-Azevedo, Luiza Pacheco de Araújo-Porto, Maria Luiza-Silva, Maurício Azevedo Batista, Marina Angela Martins, Renato Sathler-Avelar, Denise da Silveira-Lemos, Luiz Antonio Bastos Camacho, Reinaldo de Menezes Martins, Maria de Lourdes de Sousa Maia, Roberto Henrique Guedes Farias, Marcos da Silva Freire, Ricardo Galler, Akira Homma, José Geraldo Leite Ribeiro, Jandira Aparecida Campos Lemos, Maria Auxiliadora-Martins, Iramaya Rodrigues Caldas, Silvana Maria Elói-Santos, Andréa Teixeira-Carvalho, Olindo Assis Martins-Filho, Patricia Talamas-Rohana.


This study aimed to compare the cytokine-mediated immune response in children submitted to primary vaccination with the YF-17D-213/77 or YF-17DD yellow fever (YF) substrains.

A non-probabilistic sample of eighty healthy primary vaccinated (PV) children was selected on the basis of their previously known humoral immune response to the YF vaccines. The selected children were categorized according to their YF-neutralizing antibody titers (PRNT) and referred to as seroconverters (PV-PRNT+) or nonseroconverters (PV-PRNT−). Following revaccination with the YF-17DD, the PV-PRNT− children (YF-17D-213/77 and YF-17DD groups) seroconverted and were referred as RV-PRNT+. The cytokine-mediated immune response was investigated after short-term in vitro cultures of whole blood samples. The results are expressed as frequency of high cytokine producers, taking the global median of the cytokine index (YF-Ag/control) as the cut-off.

The YF-17D-213/77 and the YF-17DD substrains triggered a balanced overall inflammatory/regulatory cytokine pattern in PV-PRNT+, with a slight predominance of IL-12 in YF-17DD vaccinees and a modest prevalence of IL-10 in YF-17D-213/77. Prominent frequency of neutrophil-derived TNF-α and neutrophils and monocyte-producing IL-12 were the major features of PV-PRNT+ in the YF-17DD, whereas relevant inflammatory response, mediated by IL-12+CD8+ T cells, was the hallmark of the YF-17D-213/77 vaccinees. Both substrains were able to elicit particular but relevant inflammatory events, regardless of the anti-YF PRNT antibody levels. PV-PRNT− children belonging to the YF-17DD arm presented gaps in the inflammatory cytokine signature, especially in terms of the innate immunity, whereas in the YF-17D-213/77 arm the most relevant gap was the deficiency of IL-12-producing CD8+T cells. Revaccination with YF-17DD prompted a balanced cytokine profile in YF-17DD nonresponders and a robust inflammatory profile in YF-17D-213/77 nonresponders.

Our findings demonstrated that, just like the YF-17DD reference vaccine, the YF-17D-213/77 seed lot induced a mixed pattern of inflammatory and regulatory cytokines, supporting its universal use for immunization.

Partial Text

Yellow fever (YF) vaccines have been available since the 1930s and constitute the most important method of disease control [1]. The 17D and 17DD substrains of the YF vaccine have been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) [2]. These substrains present minor differences in their nucleotide sequences and are considered to be safe and immunogenic [2]–[5].

As YF immunization increases worldwide and the demand for vaccine becomes higher, an alternative to maintain ongoing vaccine production is to use the new seed lot that can provide vaccines for immunization programs. Hence, new seed lots must be prepared and tested according to the Good Clinical Practice guidelines. These guidelines include a comparative analysis of immunogenicity and reactogenicity with the already licensed vaccine.