It is the initial type of pertussis vaccine given in infancy – acellular or whole cell – that primes the immune system and determines how soon adolescents become susceptible to pertussis, regardless of later acellular booster vaccination, noted the authors of a new study.
The IgG4 subclass proportion for IgG4-specific antibodies remained lower in patients who had whole-cell pertussis (wP) priming in infancy, even though they had received acellular pertussis booster vaccinations at ages 4 and 9 years, compared with patients who underwent acellular pertussis (aP) priming in infancy. This was true for all vaccine antigens, other than filamentous hemagglutinin and tetanus, 1 year after the preadolescent booster, noted researcher Saskia van der Lee of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands, and her associates.
“compared to aP-primed children, even after booster vaccinations. This is in line with epidemiological data indicating that adolescents, after aP vaccination in infancy, are more susceptible to pertussis, compared with wP-primed adolescents, though wP-primed individuals become also susceptible over time,” the researchers said.
In addition, children primed with DTwP vaccines have a more Th1-skewed response for pertussis vaccine antigens after receiving a DTap booster vaccine or clinical infection with Bordetella pertussis, whereas children primed with DTaP have a more mixed pertussis-specific Th1/Th2 response, the researchers said. So “new adjuvants that skew the immune response towards a Th1 profile are desired” for better protection against pertussis over time.
SOURCE: van der Lee S et al.