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Humoral and cellular immune responses to Yersinia pestis infection in long-term recovered plague patients.


Plague is one of the most dangerous diseases and is caused by Yersinia pestis. Effective vaccine development requires understanding of immune protective mechanisms against the bacterium in humans. In this study, the humoral and memory cellular immune responses in plague patients (n = 65) recovered from Y. pestis infection during the past 16 years were investigated using a protein microarray and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot). The seroprevalence to the F1 antigen in all recovered patients is 78.5%. In patients infected more than a decade ago, the antibody-positive rate still remains 69.5%. There is no difference in the antibody presence between gender, age, and infected years, but it seems to be associated with the F1 antibody titers during infection (r = 0.821; P < 0.05). Except F1 antibody, the antibodies against LcrV and YopD were detected in most of the patients, suggesting they could be the potential diagnostic markers for detecting the infection of F1-negative strains. Regarding cellular immunity, the cell number producing gamma interferon (IFN-γ), stimulated by F1 and LcrV, respectively, in vitro to the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 7 plague patients and 4 negative controls, showed no significant difference, indicating F1 and LcrV are not dominant T cell antigens against plague for a longer time in humans. Our findings have direct implications for the future design and development of effective vaccines against Y. pestis infection and the development of new target-based diagnostics.


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    Institute of Biomedicine, Taihe Hospital, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, Hubei Province, China.

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    Antibodies, Bacterial
    Antigens, Bacterial
    Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
    Bacterial Proteins
    Biological Markers
    Child, Preschool
    Immunity, Cellular
    Immunity, Humoral
    Immunologic Memory
    Leukocytes, Mononuclear
    Middle Aged
    Plague Vaccine
    Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
    Seroepidemiologic Studies
    Yersinia pestis
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't



    PubMed ID