Quantification of Vaccine-Induced Anti-Pertussis Toxin Secretory IgA Antibodies in Breast Milk: Comparison of Different Vaccination Strategies in Women.

Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy or immediately after delivery is a strategy that is increasingly being recommended to protect young infants from disease. Breast milk contains disease-specific antibodies that can contribute to the protection of young infants. The composition of breast milk could be altered by vaccination during pregnancy or near delivery. However, the quantification of these antibodies in breast milk, lacks standardization.


In this paper, sample preparation procedures and detection methods for total and anti-pertussis toxin secretory immunoglobulin (sIg)A are proposed that can be accurately repeated and are in accordance with European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements. Both antibody analytes were measured in breast milk samples of lactating women obtained eight to nine weeks postpartum to compare different maternal pertussis vaccination strategies: vaccination during pregnancy, shortly after or at delivery (cocoon), less than 5 years before delivery or more than 5 years before delivery.


The validated immunoassays could quantitatively detect total and anti-pertussis toxin sIgA in the processed breast milk samples. Significantly higher levels of anti-pertussis toxin sIgA were measured in breast milk after pertussis vaccination during pregnancy or at delivery (geometric mean titer (GMC): 2.56 IU/mg and 2.15 IU/mg) in contrast to mothers with no recent (> 5 years) pertussis vaccination (GMC: 0.96 IU/mg) (p = 0.014 and p = 0.028, respectively).


Vaccination against pertussis in the second/third trimester of pregnancy or immediately postpartum significantly increased the levels of anti-pertussis toxin sIgA in breast milk.


Authors:De Schutter S1, Maertens K, Baerts L, De Meester I, Van Damme P, Leuridan E.

Journal:Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2015