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J Immunol Methods. 2010 Jun 30;358(1-2):46-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2010.03.014. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

Comparison of a limiting dilution assay and ELISpot for detection of memory B-cells before and after immunisation with a protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccine in children.

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University of Oxford, Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, Oxford, United Kingdom.


In the present study, the limiting dilution assay (LDA) and the ELISpot are compared in their ability to detect serogroup C meningococcal (MenC)-specific memory B-cells in peripheral blood of 12month old children, after 3-dose priming with serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenCV) in infancy. At 12 months of age, MenC-memory B-cells were detected by ELISpot in 61% of children and in 5% by LDA. In contrast, carrier-specific memory B-cells were measurable in 36% of children by LDA and 78% by ELISpot. One month after a booster dose of MenCV given at 12 months of age, MenC-specific memory B-cells were detected in 89% of children by ELISpot and 65% of children by LDA, while diphtheria toxoid-specific memory B-cells were detected in 88% of children by ELISpot and in 74% of children by LDA. Two statistical methods were applied to enumerate memory B-cells with the LDA assay; the Poisson method allowed determination of very low frequencies that could not be determined by the Reed and Muench method. These data are examples of alternative methods to assess long-term protection after protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines, through direct measurement of memory B-cells in peripheral blood shortly after immunisation.

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