Flu Vaccinations work in MSers

Mehling M, Fritz S, Hafner P, Eichin D, Yonekawa T, Klimkait T, Lindberg RL, Kappos L, Hess C.Preserved Antigen-Specific Immune Response in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Responding to IFNβ-Therapy. PLoS One. 2013;8(11):e78532. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078532.

BACKGROUND:Interferon-beta (IFNβ) regulates the expression of a complex set of pro- as well as anti-inflammatory genes. In cohorts of MS patients unstratified for therapeutic response to IFNβ, normal vaccine-specific immune responses have been observed. Data capturing antigen-specific immune responses in cohorts of subjects defined by response to IFNβ-therapy are not available.
OBJECTIVE:To assess antigen-specific immune responses in a cohort of MS patients responding clinically and radiologically to IFNβ.
METHODS:In 26 MS patients, clinical and MRI disease activity were assessed before and under treatment with IFNβ. Humoral and cellular immune response to influenza vaccine was prospectively characterized in these individuals, and 33 healthy controls by influenza-specific Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Enzyme Linked Immuno Spot Technique (ELISPOT).
RESULTS:Related to pre-treatment disease activity, IFNβ reduced clinical and radiological MS disease-activity. Following influenza vaccination, frequencies of influenza-specific T cells and concentrations of anti-influenza A and B IgM and IgG increased comparably in MS-patients and in healthy controls.
CONCLUSIONS:By showing in a cohort of MS-patients responding to IFNβ vaccine-specific immune responses comparable to controls, this study indicates that antigen-specific immune responses can be preserved under successful IFNβ-therapy.

It is always good to know that your treatments do not stop the beneficial effects of vaccinations or stop you fighting infections. Part of the immune response that fights infections may be beneficial in terms of not developing autoimmunity. Wiping out the immune system completely would leave you susceptible to infections. so this is not so.It would have been good to show that this treatment also eliminates the immune response to the autoantigen causing disease whilst leaving the antiviral response intact. However, this data suggests no problems are caused by having flu shots. Maybe Prof G will make recommendations

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