Maternal immunization can enhance passive immunity of infants to pathogens that cause life-threatening illnesses. In most instances, immunization during pregnancy will provide important protection for the woman as well as for her offspring. The tetanus toxoid and influenza vaccines are examples of vaccines that provide a double benefit. Other vaccines under evaluation include those for respiratory syncytial virus, pneumococci, group B streptococci, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. Although most IgG antibody crosses the placenta in the third trimester, the process is time-dependent, dictating that immunization should be accomplished ideally at least 6 weeks prior to delivery. IgG1 antibodies are transferred preferentially. Maternal immunization has not interfered with active immunization of the infant. Inactivated vaccines administered in the third trimester of pregnancy pose no known risk to the woman or to her fetus. (+info)
Placental antibody transfer: influence of maternal HIV infection and placental malaria.
AIM: To determine the influence of placental malaria, maternal HIV infection, and maternal hypergammaglobulinaemia on transplacental IgG antibody transfer. METHODS: One hundred and eighty materno-neonatal pairs from a Malawian population were assessed. Cord and maternal serum samples were tested for total serum IgG antibody titres using nephelometry, and for specific IgG antibody titres to Streptococcus pneumoniae, measles, and tetanus toxoid antibodies using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses showed that placental malaria was associated with a decrease in placental IgG antibody transfer to S pneumoniae and measles to 82% and 81%, respectively. Maternal HIV infection was associated with a reduction in IgG antibody transfer to S pneumoniae to 79%; raised maternal total serum IgG titres were correlated with S pneumoniae and measles IgG antibody transfer reduction to 86% and 87%, respectively. No effect was seen with tetanus toxoid antibody transfer. CONCLUSION: The combined influence of placental malaria, maternal HIV infection, and maternal hypergammaglobulinaemia seems to be linked to the low transplacental antibody transfer observed in the Malawian population. (+info)
Alpha C protein as a carrier for type III capsular polysaccharide and as a protective protein in group B streptococcal vaccines.
The alpha C protein, a protective surface protein of group B streptococci (GBS), is present in most non-type III GBS strains. Conjugate vaccines composed of the alpha C protein and type III capsular polysaccharide (CPS) might be protective against most GBS infections. In this study, the type III CPS was covalently coupled to full-length, nine-repeat alpha C protein (resulting in III-alpha9r conjugate vaccine) or to two-repeat alpha C protein (resulting in III-alpha2r conjugate vaccine) by reductive amination. Initial experiments with the III-alpha9r vaccine showed that it was poorly immunogenic in mice with respect to both vaccine antigens and was suboptimally efficacious in providing protection in mice against challenge with GBS. Therefore, modified vaccination protocols were used with the III-alpha2r vaccine. Female mice were immunized three times with 0.5, 5, or 20 microgram of the III-alpha2r vaccine with an aluminum hydroxide adjuvant and bred. Ninety-five percent of neonatal mice born to dams immunized with the III-alpha2r vaccine survived challenge with GBS expressing type III CPS, and 60% survived challenge with GBS expressing wild-type (nine-repeat) alpha C protein; 18 and 17%, respectively, of mice in the negative control groups survived (P, <0.0001). These protection levels did not differ significantly from those obtained with the type III CPS-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine and the unconjugated two-repeat alpha C protein, which protected 98 and 58% of neonates from infection with GBS expressing type III CPS or the alpha C protein, respectively. Thus, the two-repeat alpha C protein in the vaccine was immunogenic and simultaneously enhanced the immunogenicity of type III CPS. III-alpha vaccines may be alternatives to GBS polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid vaccines, eliciting additional antibodies protective against GBS infection. (+info)
IL-12, IFN-gamma, and T cell proliferation to measles in immunized infants.
Measles infection in infants is associated with severe complications, and secondary infections are attributed to generalized immunosuppression. Measles binding to its monocyte receptor down-regulates IL-12 which is expected to diminish Th1-like cytokine responses, including IFN-gamma. Whether young infants can be immunized effectively against measles is an important public health issue. We evaluated Ag-specific IL-12, IFN-gamma, and T cell responses of infants at 6 (n = 60), 9 (n = 46), or 12 mo (n = 56) of age and 29 vaccinated adults. IL-12 and IFN-gamma release by PBMC stimulated with measles Ag increased significantly after measles immunization in infants. IL-12 and IFN-gamma concentrations were equivalent in younger and older infants, but IL-12 concentrations were significantly lower in infants than in adults (p = 0.04). IL-12 production by monocytes was down-regulated by measles; the addition of recombinant human IL-12 enhanced IFN-gamma production by PBMC stimulated with measles Ag, but infant T cells released significantly less IFN-gamma than adult T cells under this condition. Of particular interest, the presence of passive Abs to measles had no effect on the specific T cell proliferation or IFN-gamma production after measles stimulation. Cellular immunity to measles infection and vaccination may be limited in infants compared with adults as a result of less effective IFN-gamma and IL-12 production in response to measles Ags. These effects were not exaggerated in younger infants compared with effects in infants who were immunized at 12 mo. In summary, infant T cells were primed with measles Ag despite the presence of passive Abs, but their adaptive immune responses were limited compared with those of adults. (+info)
Protective efficacy against respiratory syncytial virus following murine neonatal immunization with BBG2Na vaccine: influence of adjuvants and maternal antibodies.
Alum-adsorbed BBG2Na, a recombinant vaccine derived in part from the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) subgroup A G protein, induced moderate antibody titers after 1 immunization in 1-week-old mice but conferred complete lung protection upon RSV challenge. The anti-BBG2Na IgG1-IgG2a neonatal isotype profile was suggestive of dominant Th2 responses compared with those in adults. Formulation of BBG2Na with a Th1-driving adjuvant efficiently shifted neonatal responses toward a more balanced and adultlike IgG1-IgG2a profile without compromising its protective efficacy. BBG2Na-induced protective immunity was maintained even after early life immunization in the presence of high titers of maternal antibodies. Under these conditions, the protective efficacy (86%-100%) reflected the high capacity of the nonglycosylated G2Na immunogen to escape inhibition by RSV-A-induced maternal antibodies. Thus, immunization with BBG2Na protected against viral challenge despite neonatal immunologic immaturity and the presence of maternal antibodies, two major obstacles to neonatal RSV vaccine development. (+info)
Two stages of increased IgA transfer during lactation in the marsupial, trichosurus vulpecula (Brushtail possum).
The polymeric Ig receptor (pIgR) and J chain molecules are involved in the transfer of IgA across the mammary gland epithelia into milk. The J chain binds two IgA molecules to form dimeric IgA, and the pIgR transports this complex through epithelial cells. We report here the cloning of the first marsupial homologues for the pIgR and J chain from the brushtail possum. Marsupial young are born after a short gestation and are less developed than eutherian newborn. The pouch young is completely dependent on milk as its sole source of nutrition during early lactation and this phase can be considered to be equivalent to an external gestation. Two periods of increased expression of pIgR, J chain, and IgA heavy chain mRNAs were observed in the mammary gland during lactation. The first occurs for a brief period after birth of the pouch young and is likely to reflect IgA transfer via the colostrum. The second period of increased expression, which is unique to marsupials, occurs after the early lactation period and just before young exit the pouch. We propose that this represents a second colostral-like phase at the end of the external gestation. (+info)
Helminth- and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin-induced immunity in children sensitized in utero to filariasis and schistosomiasis.
Infants and children are routinely vaccinated with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) in areas of the world where worm infections are common. Because maternal helminth infection during pregnancy can sensitize the developing fetus, we studied whether this prenatal immunity persists in childhood and modifies the immune response to BCG. Children and newborns living in rural Kenya, where BCG is administered at birth and filariasis and schistosomiasis are endemic, were examined. T cells from 2- to 10-year-old children of mothers without filariasis or schistosomiasis produced 10-fold more IFN-gamma in response to mycobacterial purified protein derivative than children of helminth-infected mothers (p < 0.01). This relationship was restricted to purified protein derivative because maternal infection status did not correlate with filarial Ag-driven IL-2, IFN-gamma, IL-4, or IL-5 responses by children. Prospective studies initiated at birth showed that helminth-specific T cell immunity acquired in utero is maintained until at least 10-14 mo of age in the absence of infection with either Wuchereria bancrofti or Schistosoma haematobium. Purified protein derivative-driven T cell IFN-gamma production evaluated 10-14 mo after BCG vaccination was 26-fold higher for infants who were not sensitized to filariae or schistosomes in utero relative to subjects who experienced prenatal sensitization (p < 0.01). These data indicate that helminth-specific immune responses acquired during gestation persist into childhood and that this prenatal sensitization biases T cell immunity induced by BCG vaccination away from type 1 IFN-gamma responses associated with protection against mycobacterial infection. (+info)
Transplacental transfer of measles and total IgG.
This study was conducted to evaluate factors affecting the levels of total IgG (tIgG) and measles specific IgG (mIgG) in mother and cord sera, and the efficiency of transplacental transport of tIgG and mIgG. The study was conducted in four hospitals in Oporto, Portugal, where 1539 women and their newborns were enrolled. Measles IgG levels were lower among vaccinated mothers and respective cord sera than among vaccinated counterparts. Cord mIgG was strongly correlated with maternal levels in both vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. Transplacental transport efficiency (TTE) of mIgG decreased with increasing maternal levels, although almost one third of the observed effect was due to measurement error. The TTE was not affected by vaccination status. Monitoring maternal measles antibody levels and maternal vaccination status could be useful to determine when the age for measles vaccination can be reduced. (+info)