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Vaccine. 2006 May 1;24(18):3709-18. Epub 2005 Jul 26.

Comparison of the antibody in lymphocyte supernatant (ALS) and ELISPOT assays for detection of mucosal immune responses to antigens of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in challenged and vaccinated volunteers.

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Center for Immunization Research, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, HH, Rm 205, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


In the present study we compared the ELISPOT and antibody in lymphocyte supernatants (ALS) assays as surrogate measures of mucosal immunity. In separate studies, 20 inpatient volunteers received oral doses of 6 x 10(8) or 4 x 10(9)cfu of ETEC strain E24377A (LT+, ST+, CS1+, CS3+) and 20 subjects received 1 (n = 9) or 2 (n = 11) oral doses of the attenuated ETEC vaccine, PTL-003 expressing CFA/II (CS1+ and CS3+) (2 x 10(9)cfu/dose). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from all subjects were assayed for anti-colonization factor or toxin-specific IgA antibody responses using the ALS and ELISPOT procedures. ALS responses were measured using a standard ELISA, as well as by time-resolved fluorescence (TRF). Following challenge with E24377A, significant anti-CS3, CS1 and LT ALS responses were detected in the lymphocyte supernatants of 75-95% of the subjects. A similar proportion (75%) of subjects mounted an ALS response to CFA/II antigen after vaccination with the PTL-003 vaccine. Inter-assay comparisons between ALS and ELISPOT methods also revealed a high degree of correlation in both immunization groups. ALS sensitivity versus the ELISPOT assay for LT, CS3 and CS1-specific responses following challenge were 95%, 94% and 78%, respectively and 83% for the ALS response to CFA/II antigen after vaccination with PTL-003. Correlation coefficients for the LT and CS3 antigens were 0.94 (p<0.001) and 0.82 (p<0.001), respectively after challenge and 0.78 (p<0.001) after vaccination. The association between ALS and ELISPOT for the CS1 antigen was however, significant only when ALS supernatants were tested by TRF (r = 0.91, p<0.001). These results demonstrate the value and flexibility of the ALS assay as an alternative to ELISPOT for the measurement of mucosal immune responses to ETEC antigens, particularly when the complexities of ELISPOT may make it impractical to perform.

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