Prevalence of neutralizing antibodies to adenoviral serotypes 5 and 35 in the adult populations of The Gambia, South Africa, and the United States

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Mar;11(2):351-7. doi: 10.1128/cdli.11.2.351-357.2004.


One of the major limitations of the use of adenoviruses as gene therapy vectors is the existence of preformed immunity in various populations. Recent studies have linked failure of adenoviral gene therapy trials to the presence of antiadenoviral neutralizing antibodies (NAb). Understanding the distribution and specificity of such antibodies will assist in the design of successful recombinant adenoviral gene therapies and vaccines. To assess the prevalence of NAb to adenovirus serotypes 5 and 35 (Ad5 and Ad35), we analyzed serum samples from adult immunocompetent individuals living in The Gambia, South Africa, and the United States by using a neutralization assay. Serum samples were incubated with A549 lung carcinoma cells and adenoviruses encoding enhanced green or yellow fluorescent proteins; results were analyzed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Using this technique, we found a high prevalence of NAb against Ad5 in Gambian, South African, and U.S. subjects at both low and high titers. Conversely, all subjects displayed a low prevalence of NAb to Ad35; when present, anti-Ad35 NAb were seen at low titers. Because of the ability of adenoviruses to elicit systemic and mucosal immune responses, Ad35 with its low NAb prevalence appears to be an attractive candidate vector for gene therapy applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / classification
  • Adenoviridae / immunology*
  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / epidemiology*
  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / immunology*
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gambia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Viral