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Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Feb 15;38(4):502-7. Epub 2004 Jan 29.

Determination of serum antibody to Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxin in vaccinated and unvaccinated children and in children and adults with pertussis.

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Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Presence of antibody to adenylate cyclase toxin (ACT) has been noted following Bordetella pertussis infection. Because ACT is not presently in any acellular pertussis vaccines, it has been considered as a possible antigen to use in B. pertussis diagnostic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) studies. We determined antibody to B. pertussis ACT by ELISA and Western blot tests in serum samples obtained from unvaccinated children, from children vaccinated with several diphtheria and tetanus toxoid vaccines (DTP vaccines), from children vaccinated with vaccines containing acellular pertussis components in combination with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DTaP vaccines), and from children and adults with pertussis. Primary infections with either B. pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis stimulated a vigorous antibody response to ACT. In contrast, patients in whom DTP and DTaP vaccines failed had minimal ACT antibody responses. The lack of a significant ACT antibody response in children in whom the vaccine failed is of interest but would seem to preclude the use of ACT in diagnostic tests.

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