Kinetics of antibodies against pneumococcal proteins and their relationship to nasopharyngeal carriage in the first two months of life.PLoS One 2017; 12(10):e0185824Plos
The currently used Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccines have had a significant impact on the pneumococcal diseases caused by the serotypes they cover. Their limitations have stimulated a search for alternate vaccines that will cover all serotypes, be affordable and effective in young children. Pneumococcal protein antigens are potential vaccine candidates that may meet some of the shortfalls of the current vaccines. Thus, this study aimed to determine the relationship between antibodies against pneumococcal protein antigens and nasopharyngeal carriage in infants.
One hundred and twenty mother-infant pairs were enrolled into the study. They had nasopharyngeal swabs(NPS) taken at birth and every two weeks for the first eight weeks after delivery, and blood samples were obtained at birth and every four weeks for the first eight weeks after delivery. Nasopharyngeal carriage of S. pneumoniae was determined from the NPS and antibodies against the pneumococcal proteins CbpA, PspA and rPly were measured in the blood samples.
The S. pneumoniae carriage rate in infants increased to that of mothers by eight weeks of age. The odds of carriage in infants was 6.2 times (95% CI: 2.0-18.9) higher when their mothers were also carriers. Bacterial density in infants was lower at birth compared to their mothers (p = 0.004), but increased with age and became higher than that of their mothers at weeks 4 (p = 0.009), 6 (p = 0.002) and 8 (p<0.0001). At birth, the infants' antibodies against CbpA, and rPly pneumococcal protein antigens were similar, but that of PspA was lower (p<0.0001), compared to their mothers. Higher antibody concentrations to CbpA [OR (95% CI): 0.49 (0.26-0.92, p = 0.03)], but not PspA and rPly, were associated with protection against carriage in the infants.
Naturally induced antibodies against the three pneumococcal protein antigens were transferred from mother to child. The proportion of infants with nasopharyngeal carriage and the bacterial density of S. pneumoniae increased with age within the first eight weeks of life. Higher concentrations of antibodies against CbpA, but not PspA and rPly, were associated with reduced risk of nasopharyngeal carriage of S. pneumoniae in infants.