Impaired IgG antibody production to pneumococcal polysaccharides in patients with ataxia-telangiectasia

J Clin Immunol. 1999 Sep;19(5):326-34. doi: 10.1023/a:1020599810261.


Various factors seem to be etiologic in the susceptibility to sinopulmonary infections in ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) patients, i.e., low serum and salivary IgA, low serum IgG2, and even aspiration of saliva. S. pneumoniae is a common pathogen responsible from pulmonary infections and impaired antibody response to polysaccharide antigens is seen in patients with IgG2 and IgA deficiency as well as patients with CVID and WAS. We studied IgG-type antibody production to six pneumococcal serotypes in 29 A-T patients by ELISA before and 3-4 weeks after pneumococcal vaccine. The response was considered positive when the antibody titer was >10 U/ml but weak when the titer was 10-20 U/ml. Twenty-two of 29 (76%) patients did not respond to any of the serotypes, 5 (17%) showed a positive response to one serotype, 1 (3.4%) to two serotypes, and 1 (3.4%) to four serotypes. With conversion to gravimetric units (ng IgG/ml) and >1800 ng/ml (300 ng Ab N/ml) considered a positive response, 5 of 29 (17.2%) patients showed a positive response (300 ng ab N/ml) to two or fewer serotypes. All patients tested produced IgG antibody to tetanus toxoid. Sixteen of 27 (59.3%) patients had low IgG2 and four (14.8%) had low IgG3 levels, while 18 (62.1%) of 29 patients had low serum IgA. No correlation was found either between serum Ig isotype levels and antipolysaccharide antibody response or between susceptibility to infection and antibody production. The mechanism responsible for disturbed antipolysaccharide (TI-2 antigen) antibody production in patients with A-T needs to be investigated. It may provide additional information on the function of the ATM gene product and be helpful in clarifying the role of B cells and contribution of T cells in TI-2 responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / blood
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / complications
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / blood
  • Opportunistic Infections / blood
  • Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Pneumococcal Infections / blood
  • Pneumococcal Infections / complications
  • Pneumococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / blood
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / immunology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines