A group of researchers showed that an individual’s response to developing immunity after flu vaccination depends on a person’s ethnic background.
Dr Kurupati, the lead author on the study published in the journal Oncotarget, along with coworkers identified that race-related differences in antibody response to flu vaccine can be attributed to gene expression profiles prior to vaccination.
The researchers showed that African Americans mounted significantly higher neutralizing and IgG antibody titers to H1N1 compared to Caucasians, indicating better protection.
The difference between the groups is driven by the younger African Americans (30 – 40 yr. old).
They also observed that the heightened response in African Americans diminishes with age; there was no significant response difference in older African Americans (>65 yr. old) compared to Caucasians.
Some of these differences could be ascribed to higher number of circulating B-cells in younger African Americans, indicating higher basal immune surveillance.
This study fits in the broader context where it was recently shown that African Americans may have better protection from infectious diseases, but are more prone to autoimmune diseases.