Persistence at one year of age of antigen-induced cellular immune responses in preterm infants vaccinated against whooping cough: comparison of three different vaccines and effect of a booster dose.

Due to their high risk of developing severe Bordetella pertussis (Bp) infections, it is recommended to immunize preterm infants at their chronological age. However, little is known about the persistence of their specific immune responses, especially of the cellular responses recognized to play a role in protection. We compared here the cellular immune responses to two major antigens of Bp between three groups of one year-old children born prematurely, who received for their primary vaccination respectively the whole cell vaccine Tetracoq(®) (TC), the acellular vaccine Tetravac(®) (TV), or the acellular vaccine Infanrix-hexa(®) (IR). Whereas most children had still detectable IFN-γ responses at one year of age, they were lower in the IR-vaccinated children compared to the two other groups. In contrast, both the TV- and the IR-vaccinated children displayed higher Th2-type immune responses, resulting in higher antigen-specific IFN-γ/IL-5 ratios in TC- than in TV- or IR-vaccinated children. The IFN-γ/IL-5 ratio of mitogen-induced cytokines was also lower in IR- compared to TC- or TV-vaccinated children. No major differences in the immune responses were noted after the booster compared to the pre-booster responses for each vaccine. The IR-vaccinated children had a persistently low specific Th1-type immune response associated with high specific Th2-type immune responses, resulting in lower antigen-specific IFN-γ/IL-5 ratios compared to the two other groups. We conclude that antigen-specific cellular immune responses persisted in one year-old children born prematurely and vaccinated during infancy at their chronological age, that a booster dose did not significantly boost the cellular immune responses, and that the Th1/Th2 balance of the immune responses is modulated by the different vaccines.

Authors:Vermeulen FDirix VVerscheure VDamis EVermeylen DLocht CMascart F.

Journal:Vaccine. 2013