The resurgence of pertussis suggests the need for greater efforts in understanding the long-lasting protective responses induced by vaccination. In this paper we dissect the persistence of humoral and B-cell memory responses induced by primary vaccination with two different acellular pertussis (aP) vaccines, hexavalent Hexavac(®) vaccine (Hexavac) (Sanofi Pasteur MSD) and Infanrix hexa(®) (Infanrix) (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals). We evaluated the specific immune responses in the two groups of children, 5 years after primary vaccination by measuring the persistence of IgG and antibody secreting cells (ASC) specific for vaccine antigens. Part of the enrolled children received only primary vaccination, while others had the pre-school boost dose. A similar level of antigen-specific IgG and ASC was found in Infanrix and Hexavac vaccinated children. The mean IgG levels were significantly higher in children that received the pre-school boost as compared with children that did not receive the boost dose. A longer persistence after the pre-school boost of IgG-Pertussis Toxin (PT) and IgG-pertactin levels was observed in Infanrix primed children, but it was not statistically significant. More than 80% of children presented a positive ASC B memory response. Around 50% of children still presented protective IgG-PT levels which are reduced to 36% in no-boosted children. The pre-school booster dose restores the percentage of protected children above 50%. In conclusion our data underline the importance of giving a booster dose 5 years after primary vaccination and suggest the need for a new vaccine able to induce a long lasting protective response.
Keywords: Antibodies; Booster vaccination; Children; Memory B-cell immune response; Pertussis; Vaccination.
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