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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 8;6:20385. doi: 10.1038/srep20385.

Changes in heterosubtypic antibody responses during the first year of the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza pandemic.

Author information

Viroscience Department, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Virology Department, Centre for Infectious Diseases Research, Diagnostics and Screening, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Seropositivity to avian influenza (AI) via low-level antibody titers has been reported in the general population and poultry-exposed individuals, raising the question whether these findings reflect true infection with AI or cross-reactivity. Here we investigated serological profiles against human and avian influenza viruses in the general population using a protein microarray platform. We hypothesized that higher antibody diversity across recent H1 and H3 influenza viruses would be associated with heterosubtypic reactivity to older pandemic- and AI viruses. We found significant heterogeneity in antibody profiles. Increased antibody diversity to seasonal influenza viruses was associated with low-level heterosubtypic antibodies to H9 and H7, but not to H5 AI virus. Individuals exposed to the recent 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic showed higher heterosubtypic reactivity. We show that there is a complex interplay between prior exposures to seasonal and recent pandemic influenza viruses and the development of heterosubtypic antibody reactivity to animal influenza viruses.

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