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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 Nov;13(11):1065-71. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Evaluation of human antibody responses to diphtheria toxin subunits A and B in various age groups.

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1
Department of Immunology, Gazi University, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey. rkarakus@gazi.edu.tr

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate human antibody responses to diphtheria toxin subunits in various age groups. Antibodies against the intact diphtheria toxin and the diphtheria toxin subunits A and B were evaluated in 1319 individuals using a double-antigen ELISA. Although high levels of protection (83.6%, 95% CI 79.2-87.4) were found in children and adolescents, the middle-aged adult population was less protected (28.8%, 95% CI 24.3-33.6). An increase in age was associated with a decrease in the frequency of protected individuals in the 0-39-year age group (p <0.001). Anti-subunit B levels correlated well (p <0.01) with levels of antibodies against the intact toxin. In children aged < or =16 years, the intervals at which the peaks in geometric mean titres of anti-subunit B antibodies were observed were found to correlate with the ages at which booster doses are administered. Overall, males appeared to be more protected than females (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.34-2.08, p <0.001). A small group of individuals had antibody levels of > or =0.1 IU/mL against the intact toxin, but did not have protective antibody against subunit B. Determination of anti-subunit B antibody levels should help in evaluating the effectiveness of diphtheria boosters and other aspects of diphtheria immunity.

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