Immunosuppressed patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) generate lower amounts of SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies after mRNA vaccination than healthy controls. We assessed SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 receptor binding domain–specific (S1-RBD–specific) B lymphocytes to identify the underlying cellular defects. Patients with IBD produced fewer anti–S1-RBD antibody–secreting B cells than controls after the first mRNA vaccination and lower amounts of total and neutralizing antibodies after the second. S1-RBD–specific memory B cells were generated to the same degree in IBD and control groups and were numerically stable for 5 months. However, the memory B cells in patients with IBD had a lower S1-RBD–binding capacity than those in controls, which is indicative of a defect in antibody affinity maturation. Administration of a third shot to patients with IBD elevated serum antibodies and generated memory B cells with a normal antigen-binding capacity. These results show that patients with IBD have defects in the formation of antibody-secreting B cells and affinity-matured memory B cells that are corrected by a third vaccination.
Kathryn A. Pape, Thamotharampillai Dileepan, William E. Matchett, Charles Ellwood, Samuel Stresemann, Amanda J. Kabage, Daria Kozysa, Clayton Evert, Michael Matson, Sharon Lopez, Peter D. Krueger, Carolyn T. Graiziger, Byron P. Vaughn, Eugenia Shmidt, Joshua Rhein, Timothy W. Schacker, Tyler D. Bold, Ryan A. Langlois, Alexander Khoruts, Marc K. Jenkins