Human IgG subclass responses in relation to serum bactericidal and opsonic activities after immunization with three doses of the Norwegian serogroup B meningococcal outer membrane vesicle vaccine

Vaccine. 1999 Feb 26;17(7-8):754-64. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(98)00259-x.


Ten adult volunteers, with low prevaccination levels of serum IgG antibodies against meningococcal antigens (< 1 microg ml(-1)), received three doses of the Norwegian group B meningococcal outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccine intramuscularly at weeks 0, 6 and 46. Anti-OMV IgG subclass responses were measured and compared with serum bactericidal activity (SBA) and opsonic activity against the vaccine strain 44/76. All vaccinees showed an IgG1 antibody response after each vaccine dose. The vaccine-induced median serum IgG1 antibody levels were 16, 17 and 18 microg ml(-1) 2-6 weeks after the first, second and third dose, respectively. Three vaccinees showed a weak IgG3 response after the first dose, whereas 8 and 9 showed a response after the second (median = 10 microg ml(-1)) and third dose (median = 10 microg ml(-1)), respectively. Low levels of anti-OMV IgG2 antibodies were found, whilst specific IgG4 antibodies were only detected for one vaccinee. The vaccine induced at least a fourfold increase in SBA titre in 8 vaccinees after the first dose, in 9 vaccinees after 2 doses and in all vaccinees after 3 doses. A positive correlation was found between IgG1 subclass antibody levels and SBA (r = 0.62, P < 0.0001). Elevated opsonophagocytic activity, measured as respiratory burst (RB), was observed in all vaccinees after one vaccine dose and usually increased after 2 and 3 doses. A strong positive correlation was found between IgG1 antibody levels and RB (r = 0.76, P < 0.0001). In conclusion, we have shown that systemic meningococcal OMV vaccination in adult vaccinees mainly induced IgG1 antibodies which correlated with bactericidal and opsonic activity, but also a considerable amount of IgG3 antibodies, which, in contrast to the IgG1 response, was induced only after 2 or 3 vaccine doses and declined more rapidly.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Blood Bactericidal Activity / immunology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / classification*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology*
  • Opsonin Proteins / blood*
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • Respiratory Burst / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Opsonin Proteins