Comparable CD8(+) T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in single-cell transcriptomics of recently allogeneic transplanted patients and healthy individuals


  • Eva Tranter
  • Marco Frentsch
  • Marie Luise Hütter-Krönke
  • Giang Lam Vuong
  • David Busch
  • Lucie Loyal
  • Larissa Henze
  • Stanislav Rosnev
  • Igor-Wolfgang Blau
  • Andreas Thiel
  • D. Beule
  • L. Bullinger
  • B. Obermayer
  • I.K. Na


  • Journal of medical virology


  • J Med Virol 96 (3): e29539


  • Despite extensive research on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccination responses in healthy individuals, there is comparatively little known beyond antibody titers and T-cell responses in the vulnerable cohort of patients after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (ASCT). In this study, we assessed the serological response and performed longitudinal multimodal analyses including T-cell functionality and single-cell RNA sequencing combined with T cell receptor (TCR)/B cell receptor (BCR) profiling in the context of BNT162b2 vaccination in ASCT patients. In addition, these data were compared to publicly available data sets of healthy vaccinees. Protective antibody titers were achieved in 40% of patients. We identified a distorted B- and T-cell distribution, a reduced TCR diversity, and increased levels of exhaustion marker expression as possible causes for the poorer vaccine response rates in ASCT patients. Immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangement after vaccination proved to be highly variable in ASCT patients. Changes in TCRα and TCRβ gene rearrangement after vaccination differed from patterns observed in healthy vaccinees. Crucially, ASCT patients elicited comparable proportions of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-induced (VI) CD8(+) T-cells, characterized by a distinct gene expression pattern that is associated with SARS-CoV-2 specificity in healthy individuals. Our study underlines the impaired immune system and thus the lower vaccine response rates in ASCT patients. However, since protective vaccine responses and VI CD8(+) T-cells can be induced in part of ASCT patients, our data advocate early posttransplant vaccination due to the high risk of infection in this vulnerable group.