Immune responses and antibody decay after immunization of adolescents and adults with an acellular pertussis vaccine: the APERT Study

J Infect Dis. 2004 Aug 1;190(3):535-44. doi: 10.1086/422035. Epub 2004 Jul 7.


As part of a prospective acellular pertussis (ACP) vaccine efficacy trial, 5 serum samples were obtained, over an 18-month period, from 101 ACP-vaccine recipients and 99 control subjects, to assess ACP antibody response and decay. Immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgA antibodies to pertussis toxin (PT), filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), pertactin (PRN), and fimbriae 2/3 (FIM) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay, and titers of agglutinin were determined. Of the subjects, 16%-19% had preimmunization values of antibodies to PT that were above the assay's limit of quantitation (LOQ); in contrast, 36%-63% of the subjects had preimmunization values of antibodies to FHA, PRN, or FIM that were above the LOQ. Substantial increases in titers of IgG and IgA antibodies to the 3 ACP antigens (PT, FHA, and PRN) were observed. Over the 18-months, the percent decay in IgG and IgA antibodies ranged from 56% to 73% and from 57% to 70%, respectively; the IgG antibody response and decay suggests that geometric mean titers likely remain above the LOQ for 2-9 years and above the threshold of detection for 4-13 years. These findings support the use of ACP booster immunizations for adolescents and adults, to provide sustained levels of antibody.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bordetella pertussis / immunology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • Pertussis Vaccine / immunology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Vaccination
  • Whooping Cough / immunology
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Pertussis Vaccine