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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jun;12(6):713-21.

Protective antigen and toxin neutralization antibody patterns in anthrax vaccinees undergoing serial plasmapheresis.

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U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1425 Porter Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-500, USA.


Recipients of licensed anthrax vaccine (AVA; Biothrax) could serve as a source of hyperimmune plasma and immunoglobulin for therapy and prophylaxis. We measured serum antibodies during serial weekly to biweekly plasmapheresis in 38 individuals previously vaccinated with 4 to 27 doses of AVA. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to protective antigen (PA) and toxin neutralization assay (TNA) antibody levels were highly correlated (r = 0.86930 and P < 0.0001 for anti-PA concentration versus TNA concentration). Significant decreases in antibody titer and concentration were observed over time when compared for the number of days from the last AVA injection (P < 0.0001 for both anti-PA and TNA concentration) and for the number of days from the first plasmapheresis (P = 0.0007 for anti-PA concentration and P = 0.0025 for TNA concentration). The rate of the decrease in total IgG concentration (half-life [t(1/2)] = 198.90 days after first plasmapheresis) was significantly less than the decrease in anti-PA IgG (t(1/2) = 63.53 days) (P < 0.0001), indicating that the reduction in anti-PA IgG was more likely due to natural decay than plasmapheresis. The time since the last injection and the time after initial plasmapheresis are important elements in considering an optimal schedule for collecting anthrax hyperimmune plasma. Good correlation between IgG to PA and TNA antibodies suggests that the anti-PA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay can be used as a high-throughput screen for functional immune reactivity in donor plasma units.

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