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Pediatr Res. 1987 Dec;22(6):708-13.

Altered antibody isotype in cystic fibrosis: impaired natural antibody response to polysaccharide antigens.

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  • 1Ross Mosier Laboratory for Cystic Fibrosis Research, Children's Hospital-Stanford, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University Medical School, Palo Alto, CA 94304.


Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) have impaired natural (preinfection) IgG2 antibody responses to Pseudomonas aeruginosa lipopolysaccharide. To investigate the basis for this defect, we measured natural IgG and IgG1-4 antibody levels to Haemophilus influenzae type b polyribophosphate (PRP) and tetanus toxoid by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 24 adult CF patients and 20 normal controls. Immunoglobulin heavy- and light-chain allotypes were determined on 146 Caucasian CF patients and 96 controls. The tetanus toxoid-specific IgG response was predominantly IgG1. CF and control subjects had similar IgG and IgG1 antibody levels. The PRP-specific IgG response was predominantly IgG2. In contrast to tetanus toxoid results, CF patients had lower geometric mean level of PRP-specific IgG compared to normal controls (p = 0.0036). ELISA results were confirmed by liquid-phase 3H-PRP-binding assay: CF patients had a geometric mean serum antibody level of 395 versus 922 ng/ml in controls (p = 0.0044). PRP-specific IgG2 levels were also depressed in CF patients (p = 0.03). CF patients had a lower prevalence of the A2m(2) allotype than the local racially matched control sample (p less than 0.025). Other allotype prevalences including G2m(n) and Km(1) were similar. Impaired IgG2 antibody responses to microbial polysaccharide surface antigens in CF patients might predispose them to persistent endobronchial infection and lead to production of nonopsonizing isotype responses. The potential role of A2m(2), coded for in the H chain locus on chromosome 14, is unknown, but could be related to mucosal IgA2 antibody responses.

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