Anti-protein immunoglobulin M responses to pneumococcus are not associated with aging.

Pneumonia (Nathan) 2018 5;10. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

1Respiratory Infection Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.

Background: The incidence of community-acquired pneumonia and lower respiratory tract infection rises considerably in later life. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody levels to pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide are known to decrease with age; however, whether levels of IgM antibody to pneumococcal proteins are subject to the same decline has not yet been investigated.

Methods: This study measured serum levels and binding capacity of IgM antibody specific to the pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) and an unencapsulated pneumococcal strain in serum isolated from hospital patients aged < 60 and ≥ 60, with and without lower respiratory tract infection. A group of young healthy volunteers was used as a comparator to represent adults at very low risk of pneumococcal pneumonia. IgM serum antibody levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and flow cytometry was performed to assess IgM binding capacity. Linear regression and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were used to analyse the results.

Results: Levels and binding capacity of IgM antibody to PspA and the unencapsulated pneumococcal strain were unchanged with age.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that protein-based pneumococcal vaccines may provide protective immunity in the elderly.

Trial Registration: The LRTI trial (LRTI and control groups) was approved by the National Health Service Research Ethics Committee in October 2013 (12/NW/0713). Recruitment opened in January 2013 and was completed in July 2013. Healthy volunteer samples were taken from the EHPC dose-ranging and reproducibility trial, approved by the same Research Ethics Committee in October 2011 (11/NW/0592). Recruitment for this study ran from October 2011 until December 2012. LRTI trial: (NCT01861184), EHPC dose-ranging and reproducibility trial: (ISRCTN85403723).

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