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Infect Immun. 1993 Nov;61(11):4760-6.

Stimulation of protective antibodies against type Ia and Ib group B streptococci by a type Ia polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Antisera elicited by type Ia group B streptococci (GBS) contain antibodies that react with both type Ia and type Ib strains. Previous studies suggested that antibodies elicited by type Ia organisms recognized a carbohydrate antigen or epitope common to Ia and Ib strains. We now report the synthesis and immunogenicity testing of a type Ia polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid (Ia-TT) conjugate vaccine. Ia-TT elicited type Ia polysaccharide-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in all three of the rabbits inoculated. In competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, these antibodies reacted with high affinity to type Ia polysaccharide and with lower affinity to the structurally related GBS type Ib polysaccharide. Despite the lower binding affinity of the Ia-TT-induced antibodies for the type Ib polysaccharide, Ia-TT antiserum opsonized not only type Ia GBS but also type Ib GBS for killing by human blood leukocytes. Ia-TT antiserum was also evaluated in a mouse model designed to test the efficacy of maternal antibodies in protecting neonates against GBS infection. Pups born to dams that had received Ia-TT antiserum were protected against lethal challenge with either type Ia or Ib GBS. These studies using a polysaccharide-protein conjugate as an immunogen support the view that the carbohydrate immunodeterminant recognized on Ib strains by Ia antisera is a common epitope contained within the structurally related Ia and Ib capsular polysaccharides. Although antibodies elicited by Ia-TT had protective activity against both Ia and Ib strains, these antibodies reacted with lower affinity to Ib than to Ia polysaccharide.

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