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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 May;141(5 Pt 1):1316-21.

Haemophilus influenzae infections in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease despite specific antibodies in serum and sputum.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The titer and specificity of antibodies to the infecting Haemophilus influenzae was determined in sera and sputa from 27 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to analyze the specific immune response. COPD patients had significantly higher serum IgG and IgA antibody titers than 13 healthy controls (mean IgG titers 12,302 and 5,623, respectively; mean IgA titers, 2,398 and 912; p less than 0.001). The mean IgM titers were comparable: 501 and 447, respectively. Specific IgA antibodies were also detectable in the sputum of the COPD patients (mean IgA antibody titer, 776). The local antibody production was determined by calculating the relative coefficient of excretion (RCE) to albumin. The mean RCE of 89.1 for IgA indicated statistically significant local production (p less than 0.02), in contrast to a nonsignificant increase for IgG (mean RCE of 3.6). Specific IgM was below the detection level. Immunoblotting experiments showed that the antibodies in sera from COPD patients and controls were directed against most of the outer membrane proteins of H. influenzae, with individual differences between IgG, IgA, and IgM. The IgA and IgG antibodies in serum had a similar specificity as those in sputum. The appearance or persistence of H. influenzae coincided with minor changes in antibody titer and specificity. From these results we conclude that COPD patients are infected with H. influenzae despite the presence of at least as many antibodies in sputum and serum as in controls and that these antibodies are directed against a variety of antigenic determinants of the infecting strain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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