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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Feb;21(2):165-73. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00641-13. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Antibody responses to Bordetella pertussis Fim2 or Fim3 following immunization with a whole-cell, two-component, or five-component acellular pertussis vaccine and following pertussis disease in children in Sweden in 1997 and 2007.

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  • 1Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, Stockholm, Sweden.


Bordetella pertussis fimbriae (Fim2 and Fim3) are components of a five-component acellular pertussis vaccine (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine [DTaP5]), and antibody responses to fimbriae have been associated with protection. We analyzed the IgG responses to individual Fim2 and Fim3 in sera remaining from a Swedish placebo-controlled efficacy trial that compared a whole-cell vaccine (diphtheria-tetanus-whole-cell pertussis vaccine [DTwP]), a two-component acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP2), and DTaP5. One month following three doses of the Fim-containing vaccines (DTwP or DTaP5), anti-Fim2 geometric mean IgG concentrations were higher than those for anti-Fim3, with a greater anti-Fim2/anti-Fim3 IgG ratio elicited by DTaP5. We also determined the responses in vaccinated children following an episode of pertussis. Those who received DTaP5 showed a large rise in anti-Fim2 IgG, reflecting the predominant Fim2 serotype at the time. In contrast, those who received DTwP showed an equal rise in anti-Fim2 and anti-Fim3 IgG concentrations, indicating that DTwP may provide a more efficient priming effect for a Fim3 response following contact with B. pertussis. Anti-Fim2 and anti-Fim3 IgG concentrations were also determined in samples from two seroprevalence studies conducted in Sweden in 1997, when no pertussis vaccine was used and Fim2 isolates predominated, and in 2007, when either DTaP2 or DTaP3 without fimbriae was used and Fim3 isolates predominated. Very similar distributions of anti-Fim2 and anti-Fim3 IgG concentrations were obtained in 1997 and 2007, except that anti-Fim3 concentrations in 1997 were lower. This observation, together with the numbers of individuals with both anti-Fim2 and anti-Fim3 IgG concentrations, strongly suggests that B. pertussis expresses both Fim2 and Fim3 during infection.

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