Isotype composition of antibodies to streptococcus group B type III polysaccharide and to tetanus toxoid in maternal, cord blood sera and in breast milk

Eur J Pediatr. 1992 Feb;151(2):98-102. doi: 10.1007/BF01958951.


Neonates are protected against group B streptococcal (GBS) infections and tetanus by transplacentally transferred serum antibodies. Antibodies of the immunoglobulin (Ig) G, IgM and IgA classes and IgG subclasses to the capsular polysaccharide (CPS) of type III group B streptococci (GBS III) and to tetanus toxoid (TT) were measured in sera from healthy women of fertile age and in paired maternal and cord blood sera from term and preterm pregnancies. GBS III CPS antibodies of the IgG class were found in sera from 97 out of 100 women of fertile age, but only 15 of them had antibodies above the proposed protective level (greater than or equal to 2 micrograms/ml). TT IgG antibodies above the protective level (0.01 units/ml) were found in all sera. The IgG antibodies against GBS III CPS were mainly composed of the IgG2 subclass and to a lesser extent of IgG1. Almost all women had IgG1 antibodies against TT and 40% had IgG4 antibodies. Total IgG and IgG1 antibodies against GBS III CPS were higher in cord blood sera from 37 term neonates than in sera from their mothers whereas IgG2 antibody levels were similar. Total IgG and IgG1 antibodies against TT were also higher in the 20 term neonates tested than in their mothers. In contrast, total IgG and IgG1 to both GBS III CPS and TT and IgG2 to GBS III CPS were lower in cord blood sera from preterm neonates than in sera from their mothers. IgA antibodies to GBS III CPS were detected in 63% of breast milk samples while IgA antibodies against TT were detected in only 4%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / immunology
  • Milk, Human / immunology*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / immunology*
  • Tetanus Toxoid / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Tetanus Toxoid