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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2017 Oct 5;24(10). pii: e00136-17. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00136-17. Print 2017 Oct.

Mother-Newborn Pairs in Malawi Have Similar Antibody Repertoires to Diverse Malaria Antigens.

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Division of Malaria Research, Institute for Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Blantyre Malaria Project, Malawi College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, California, USA.
Antigen Discovery, Irvine, California, USA.
Division of Malaria Research, Institute for Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA


Maternal antibodies may play a role in protecting newborns against malaria disease. Plasmodium falciparum parasite surface antigens are diverse, and protection from infection requires allele-specific immunity. Although malaria-specific antibodies have been shown to cross the placenta, the extent to which antibodies that respond to the full repertoire of diverse antigens are transferred from the mother to the infant has not been explored. Understanding the breadth of maternal antibody responses and to what extent these antibodies are transferred to the child can inform vaccine design and evaluation. We probed plasma from cord blood and serum from mothers at delivery using a customized protein microarray that included variants of malaria vaccine target antigens to assess the intensity and breadth of seroreactivity to three malaria vaccine candidate antigens in mother-newborn pairs in Malawi. Among the 33 paired specimens that were assessed, mothers and newborns had similar intensity and repertoire of seroreactivity. Maternal antibody levels against vaccine candidate antigens were the strongest predictors of infant antibody levels. Placental malaria did not significantly impair transplacental antibody transfer. However, mothers with placental malaria had significantly higher antibody levels against these blood-stage antigens than mothers without placental malaria. The repertoire and levels of infant antibodies against a wide range of malaria vaccine candidate antigen variants closely mirror maternal levels in breadth and magnitude regardless of evidence of placental malaria. Vaccinating mothers with an effective malaria vaccine during pregnancy may induce high and potentially protective antibody repertoires in newborns.


antibody repertoire; antigenic diversity; infant; malaria; placental malaria; pregnancy; protein microarray; vaccine; vaccines

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