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J Infect Dis. 2012 Feb 15;205(4):610-20. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir791. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Immune response following H1N1pdm09 vaccination: differences in antibody repertoire and avidity in young adults and elderly populations stratified by age and gender.

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  • 1Division of Viral Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The H1N1 2009 influenza (H1N1pdm09) pandemic had unexpected features, including lower morbidity and mortality in elderly populations.

METHODS:

We performed in-depth elucidation of antibody responses generated post-H1N1pdm09 vaccination in elderly (aged 66-83 years) and younger (aged 18-45 or 46-65 years) adults using H1N1pdm09 whole-genome-fragment phage display library and measured antibody isotype and affinity to antigenic domains within hemagglutinin (HA).

RESULTS:

H1N1pdm09 vaccination induced 10-fold higher antibody levels in elderly compared with younger adults. These antibodies primarily targeted the HA1 globular domain, including neutralizing epitopes in the receptor-binding domain. Antibody epitope repertoire, isotype, and affinity maturation after H1N1pdm09 vaccination evolved independently for HA2, HA1, and HA1 N-terminus antigenic regions. Postvaccination serum samples from elderly subjects demonstrated substantially higher avidity than from younger subjects (>60% vs <30% resistance to 7 mol/L urea) and slower antibody dissociation rates using surface plasmon resonance. We also identified a gender difference in postvaccination antibody avidity (female < male subjects) in adults <65 years old.

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first study in humans that provides evidence for a qualitatively superior antibody response in elderly adults after H1N1pdm09 vaccination. These findings may help explain the age-related mortality observed during the H1N1pdm09 pandemic. The difference in gender specific avidity merits further exploration.

PMID:
22207649
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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