Scientific reports 2017 09 297(1) 12398 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-11601-6
The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) has been associated with beneficial non-specific effects (NSEs) on infant health. Within a randomized trial on the effect of neonatal BCG on overall health, we investigated the possible immunological impact of neonatal BCG vaccination on lymphocyte subsets, determined by flow cytometry. In 118 infants blood samples were obtained 4 (±2) days post randomization to BCG vaccination or no intervention, and at 3 and 13 months of age. No effects of BCG were found at 4 days. However, BCG increased proportions of effector memory cells at 3 months (Geometric mean ratio (GMR) 1.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.20-2.21), p = 0.002 for CD4(+) T cells and GMR 1.69, 95% CI (1.06-2.70), p = 0.03 for CD8(+) T cells), and reduced proportions of late differentiated CD4(+) T cells (GMR = 0.62, 95% CI (0.38-1.00), p = 0.05) and apoptotic CD4(+) T cells at 13 months (GMR = 0.55, 95% CI (0.32-0.92), p = 0.03). In conclusion, limited overall impact of neonatal BCG vaccination on lymphocyte subsets was found in healthy Danish infants within the first 13 months of life. This is in line with the limited clinical effects of BCG observed in our setting.