Poor memory B cell generation contributes to non-protective responses to DTaP vaccine antigens in otitis-prone children

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Abstract

Summary

We recently identified a cohort of children with recurrent episodes of acute otitis media (AOM) who fail to generate protective antibody titres to otopathogens and several vaccine antigens. In this study we determined the antibody levels against DTaP vaccine antigens, diphtheria toxoid (DT), tetanus toxoid (TT) and acellular pertussis toxoid (PT) in sera from 15 stringently defined otitis-prone (sOP) children and 20 non-otitis-prone (NOP) children. We found significantly lower concentrations of immunoglobulin (Ig)G antibodies against vaccine antigens in the serum of sOP children compared to age-matched NOP children. To elucidate immunological cellular responses to the vaccines in these children, we investigated memory B cell responses to DTaP vaccination. We used fluorescently conjugated vaccine antigens to label antigen receptors on the surface of memory B cells and examined the frequency of antigen-specific CD19+ CD27+ memory B cells in the peripheral blood. sOP children showed a significantly lower percentage of antigen-specific CD19+ CD27+ memory B cells than NOP children. We also found a linear correlation between the frequencies of memory B cells and circulating IgG titres for DT, TT and PT proteins. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show significant differences in memory B cell responses to DTaP vaccine antigens and their correlation with the circulating antibodies in young children with recurrent AOM.

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