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Infect Immun. 1983 April; 40(1): 245–256.
PMCID: PMC264842

Further Studies on the Immunogenicity of Haemophilus influenzae Type b and Pneumococcal Type 6A Polysaccharide-Protein Conjugates


Conjugates were prepared by carbodiimide-mediated coupling of adipic acid hydrazide derivatives of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Escherichia coli K100, and pneumococcal 6A (Pn6A) polysaccharides with tetanus toxoid (TT), as an example of a “useful” carrier, and horseshoe crab hemocyanin (HCH), as an example of a “nonsense” carrier. These conjugates were injected into NIH mice, and their serum antibody responses to the polysaccharides and proteins were characterized. As originally reported, Hib conjugates increased the immunogenicity of the capsular polysaccharide and elicited greater than the estimated protective levels of anti-Hib antibodies in most recipients after one injection and in all after the third injection (Schneerson et al., J. Exp. Med. 152:361-376, 1980). Both Hib conjugates induced similar anti-Hib responses. The K100-HCH conjugate was more immunogenic than the K100-TT conjugate and elicited anti-Hib responses similar to the Hib conjugates after the third injection. Simultaneous injection of the K100 and the Hib conjugates did not enhance the anti-Hib response. The Pn6A-TT conjugate induced low levels of anti-Hib antibodies; when injected simultaneously with the Hib conjugates, the anti-Hib response was enhanced, as all mice responded after the first injection and with higher levels of anti-Hib than observed with the Hib conjugates alone (P < 0.05). The Pn6A conjugates were not as immunogenic as the Hib conjugates. Pn6A-TT was more effective than was Pn6A-HCH; it elicited anti-Pn6A (>100 ng of antibody nitrogen per ml) in 6 of 10 mice after the third injection. The addition of the Hib-HCH conjugate to the Pn6A-TT conjugate increased the anti-Pn6A response with a higher geometric mean antibody titer, and 9 of 10 mice responded after the third injection. A preparation of diphtheria toxoid, TT, and pertussis vaccine increased the anti-Hib antibody levels after the first injection only in mice receiving Hib-TT, but not in mice receiving Hib-HCH, suggesting that additional carrier protein (TT) enhanced the anti-polysaccharide response. Simultaneous injection of Hib and Pn6A conjugates with the same or different carriers resulted in an enhanced serum antibody response to each polysaccharide. The anti-tetanus toxin response reached protective levels (>0.01 U/ml) in most mice after the first injection and in all mice after the second and third injections of TT conjugates. A progressive increase in the anti-HCH response with each additional injection was noted in animals receiving HCH conjugates. Animals receiving the diphtheria toxoid-TT-pertussis vaccine preparation responded with a greater increase in anti-carrier antibody than those receiving the conjugates alone. This method of synthesis provided conjugates capable of inducing protective levels of antibodies to both the polysaccharides and carrier proteins.

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