Determination of pertactin IgG antibodies for the diagnosis of pertussis

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2003 Jul;9(7):585-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-0691.2003.00552.x.


Objective: To compare increases in serum IgG antibody against pertactin with increases in IgG against pertussis toxin and filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA) in non-vaccinated children, children vaccinated with pertussis toxoid, and adults, all with culture-confirmed pertussis.

Methods: During a double-blind, placebo-controlled, efficacy trial of a monocomponent pertussis toxoid vaccine, acute and convalescent sera were obtained from study children and family members with suspected pertussis. In the present study, IgG antibodies against pertactin, pertussis toxin and FHA (determined by ELISA) were compared in 207 individuals with culture-verified pertussis and paroxysmal cough for >/= 21 days.

Results: Significant increases in geometric mean serum IgG against all antigens occurred in non-vaccinated children, but more children responded against pertussis toxin and FHA than against pertactin (96%, 97%, and 62%, respectively). Of the children who had pertussis even though they were vaccinated with the pertussis toxoid vaccine, 97% responded to FHA, while responses to pertussis toxin and pertactin were less common (68% and 61%, respectively). In the 20 adults, the proportions of responders to FHA, pertussis toxin and pertactin were 90%, 80% and 55%, respectively.

Conclusion: Determination of IgG against pertussis toxin and FHA in paired sera in non-vaccinated children with pertussis is a more sensitive diagnostic tool than determination of IgG against pertactin. Pertactin IgG determinations might be of value as a complement to the other antibody assays in vaccinated children and in adults.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / immunology
  • Adult
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemagglutinins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pertussis Toxin / immunology
  • Vaccines, Acellular / immunology
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella / immunology*
  • Whooping Cough / diagnosis*
  • Whooping Cough / immunology


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Hemagglutinins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Vaccines, Acellular
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella
  • filamentous hemagglutinin adhesin, Bordetella pertussis
  • pertactin
  • Pertussis Toxin