Background: Patients on maintenance dialysis typically show a suboptimal immune response to hepatitis B virus vaccine compared with the non-uraemic population. A variety of inherited or acquired factors have been implicated in this diminished response. It is well known that patients with diabetes mellitus have a compromised immune system, and diabetic nephropathy is an important cause of chronic kidney disease. However, the impact of diabetes mellitus on the immune response to HBV vaccine in patients receiving long-term dialysis remains unclear.
Aim: To evaluate the influence of diabetes mellitus on the immune response to HBV vaccine in dialysis population by performing a systematic review of the literature with a meta-analysis of clinical studies.
Methods: We used the random effects model of DerSimonian and Laird with heterogeneity and sensitivity analyses. The end-point of interest was the rate of patients showing seroprotective antibody against hepatitis B surface antigen at completion of vaccine schedule in the diabetic vs. the nondiabetic dialysis individuals.
Results: We identified 12 studies involving 1002 unique patients on long-term dialysis. Aggregation of study results showed a significant decrease in response rates among the diabetic vs. the nondiabetic patients [pooled odds ratio = 0.52 (95% CI 0.38-0.71)]. The P-value was 0.29 for our test of study heterogeneity. Stratified analysis in various subgroups of interest did not meaningfully change our results.
Conclusions: Our meta-analysis showed a clear association between diabetes mellitus and impaired response to hepatitis B virus vaccine in individuals on long-term dialysis. Such a relationship is biologically plausible. Vaccination schedules with adapted vaccine doses and frequent serum testing for loss of immunity against hepatitis B virus should be considered in patients on maintenance dialysis with diabetes mellitus.