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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Microbiology - Otolaryngology - Pediatrics and Child Health - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Maternal Immunization with Pneumococcal Surface Protein A Protects against Pneumococcal Infections among Derived Offspring
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Author: Masamitsu Kono et al.

by Masamitsu Kono, Muneki Hotomi, Susan K. Hollingshead, David E. Briles, Noboru Yamanaka

Pathogen-specific antibody plays an important role in protection against pneumococcal carriage and infections. However, neonates and infants exhibit impaired innate and adaptive immune responses, which result in their high susceptibility to pneumococci. To protect neonates and infants against pneumococcal infection it is important to elicit specific protective immune responses at very young ages. In this study, we investigated the protective immunity against pneumococcal carriage, pneumonia, and sepsis induced by maternal immunization with pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA). Mother mice were intranasally immunized with recombinant PspA (rPspA) and cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) prior to being mated. Anti-PspA specific IgG, predominantly IgG1, was present at a high level in the serum and milk of immunized mothers and in the sera of their pups. The pneumococcal densities in washed nasal tissues and in lung homogenate were significantly reduced in pups delivered from and/or breast-fed by PspA-immunized mothers. Survival after fatal systemic infections with various types of pneumococci was significantly extended in the pups, which had received anti-PspA antibody via the placenta or through their milk. The current findings strongly suggest that maternal immunization with PspA is an attractive strategy against pneumococcal infections during early childhood. (191 words)