Pneumococcal serum antibody concentrations during the first three years of life: a study of otitis-prone and non-otitis-prone children

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1989 Jul;17(3):267-79. doi: 10.1016/0165-5876(89)90052-9.


One hundred and thirteen children were followed prospectively from birth until the age of 3, serum being obtained from cord blood, and at the ages of 3, 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months. Thirteen children developed recurrent acute otitis media (rAOM), 29 remained very healthy and the remaining children formed an intermediate group. Cord serum concentrations were determined of total IgG class, of IgG1 and IgG2 subclasses, as well as of specific IgG antibodies against the pneumococcal capsular types, 3, 6A and 19F. The specific pneumococcal IgG as well as IgA and IgM antibodies were also followed in the sequential serum samples up to the age of 3 in the rAOM and healthy children. Despite total IgG class and IgG1 and IgG2 subclass concentrations being of the same magnitude in cord serum of rAOM (median: 11.15, 7.48 and 2.16 g/l for IgG, IgG1 and IgG2, respectively) as in that of healthy children (median: 10.21, 8.16 and 2.16 g/l, respectively), both in cord serum and in most serum samples drawn during the first year of life, specific IgG antibodies against types 6A and 19F, but not against type 3, were significantly lower in the rAOM group than in the healthy children. In the intermediate group, cord serum concentrations of specific IgG antibodies to type 6A were of the same magnitude as in the healthy children. The only significant difference in specific IgM and IgA antibody concentrations against types 3, 6A and 19F between the two groups was noted for type 6A antibodies at 36 months of age where rAOM children exhibited lower values. The results indicate an association between pre-existing low specific IgG antibody levels against AOM-associated pneumococcal types and the development of rAOM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin G / classification
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Otitis Media / immunology*
  • Otitis Media / microbiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / classification
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G