Salivary antibodies following parenteral immunization of infants with a meningococcal serogroup A and C conjugated vaccine

Epidemiol Infect. 1999 Oct;123(2):201-8. doi: 10.1017/s0950268899002915.


Bacterial and viral salivary antibody testing is proving sensitive and specific, useful for epidemiological studies, and is simple and non-invasive. Salivary serogroup C polysaccharide-specific (SC PS-S) IgA and IgG were determined as a proportion of total salivary IgA and IgG in a group of UK infants who were recipients of a conjugated A/C meningococcal PS vaccine. Geometric mean concentrations (GMCs) of salivary SC PS-S IgG per mg of total IgG (microg/mg) were 0.1 pre-vaccination, rising to 8.2 post first, 16.1 post second and 29.3 post third dose of vaccine. For IgA, the corresponding GMCs in ng/mg were 0.1, 82.8, 69.6 and 91.2. Significant correlations (P < 0.0001) were found between serum Ig and salivary IgG SC PS-S antibody for pre-vaccine and 1 month post each dose of vaccine suggesting that SC PS-S IgG in saliva was largely derived from serum. Of the five infants whose sera were analysed for isotype-specific responses, only traces of IgM and IgA were measurable suggesting that the SC PS-S IgA was locally produced. These findings suggests that the widespread use of meningococcal conjugate vaccines is likely to reduce nasopharyngeal carriage and may thereby induce herd immunity in the vaccinated population.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Bacterial Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Meningococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Meningococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / classification*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Saliva / immunology*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Serotyping
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / therapeutic use


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Vaccines, Conjugate