COVID-19 disproportionately affects persons with HIV (PWH) in worldwide locations with limited access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. PWH exhibit impaired immune responses to some, but not all, vaccines. Lymph node (LN) biopsies from PWH demonstrate abnormal LN structure, including dysregulated germinal center (GC) architecture. It is not clear whether LN dysregulation prevents PWH from mounting Ag-specific GC responses in the draining LN following vaccination. To address this issue, we longitudinally collected blood and draining LN fine needle aspiration samples before and after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination from a prospective, observational cohort of 11 PWH on antiretroviral therapy: 2 who received a two-dose mRNA vaccine series and 9 who received a single dose of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine. Following vaccination, we observed spike-specific Abs, spike-specific B and T cells in the blood, and spike-specific GC B cell and T follicular helper cell responses in the LN of both mRNA vaccine recipients. We detected spike-specific Abs in the blood of all Ad26.COV2.S recipients, and one of six sampled Ad26.COV2.S recipients developed a detectable spike-specific GC B and T follicular helper cell response in the draining LN. Our data show that PWH can mount Ag-specific GC immune responses in the draining LN following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Due to the small and diverse nature of this cohort and the limited number of available controls, we are unable to elucidate all potential factors contributing to the infrequent vaccine-induced GC response observed in the Ad26.COV2.S recipients. Our preliminary findings suggest this is a necessary area of future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-958
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023


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