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J Med Virol. 2010 Feb;82(2):335-40. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21621.

Determination of rubella virus-specific cell-mediated immunity using IFN gamma-ELISpot.

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Institute of Virology, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany.


Immunity to rubella virus (RV) is conventionally determined by measuring specific immunoglobulin G (IgG). However, several individuals may be considered immune despite undetectable antibody levels. In the present study RV-specific interferon-gamma (IFN gamma)-ELISpot and rubella-IgG-ELISA were compared in 75 young adults aged between 20 and 30 years. In a subgroup, not only rubella-like particles (RLP), but also HPV77 rubella vaccine derived antigen was used in IFN gamma-ELISpot. The results from both, ELISA and ELISpot were independent of previous encounter to RV (vaccination, exanthematous disease, or childhood infection). There was no difference between RLP and RV vaccine antigen in IFN gamma-ELISpot response, and there was no correlation between IFN gamma-ELISpot and RV-specific IgG levels. IFN gamma-producing cells were found in 78.7% of all tested persons, and 83.8% of them were positive in ELISA. In almost all individuals seronegative for RV antibody, IFN gamma-producing cells were detected. Considering both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, a positive RV immune reaction was seen in 98.6%. The results indicate that the IFN gamma-ELISpot can provide valuable additional information in seronegative individuals.

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