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Infect Immun. 2000 Dec;68(12):7175-9.

Characterization of bactericidal immune responses following vaccination with acellular pertussis vaccines in adults.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0524, USA.


Sera from six adults, collected before and after acellular pertussis vaccination, and from a placebo control were examined for the ability to elicit two bactericidal immune defenses, (i) antibody-dependent complement-mediated bacterial lysis and (ii) opsonization and phagocytosis by human neutrophils. The samples were chosen based on low preimmunization titers and strong postimmunization responses to various combinations of vaccine antigens. All but two prevaccination samples demonstrated activity indicative of complement-mediated lysis. Preimmunization activity could have been due to prior infection or childhood immunization. Immunization did not result in improved bactericidal activity for any of the individuals, and in two cases immunization caused a statistically significant decrease in complement-mediated lysis. Similarly, opsonization with the postimmunization sera failed to enhance attachment or phagocytosis of bacteria by neutrophils, and one postimmunization sample with a strong response to filamentous hemagglutinin caused an inhibition of phagocytosis that was statistically significant compared to that observed for the no-serum control. In summary, booster immunization of adults with acellular pertussis vaccines was not found to increase bactericidal activity over preimmunization levels. Identifying ways to promote bactericidal immune responses might improve the efficacy of acellular pertussis vaccines.

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