Effect of early carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae on the development of pneumococcal protein-specific cellular immune responses in infancy

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012 Mar;31(3):243-8. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e318245a5a8.


Background: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between nasopharyngeal pneumococcal colonization in early life and the subsequent development of pneumococcal-specific T cell responses.

Methods: Pernasal swabs were collected from Papua New Guinean infants at the ages of 1 and 2 weeks (n = 279). At 9 months, in vitro cellular immune responses to choline-binding protein A (n = 132), pneumococcal surface protein A (n = 132), pneumolysin (n = 99), and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine carrier CRM197 were determined. Responses were compared based on the children's carriage status within the first 2 weeks of life.

Results: Within the first 2 weeks of life, 40% of the study children carried Streptococcus pneumoniae. Early carriage was associated with lower interferon-γ and interleukin 10 responses to pneumococcal proteins at age 9 months when children had not received pneumococcal conjugate vaccines during the study period.

Conclusions: Early pneumococcal carriage may result in enhanced disease susceptibility and suboptimal vaccine responses by modulating the development of pneumococcal immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology*
  • Carrier State / immunology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / immunology
  • Pregnancy
  • Streptococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines