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author:("hiby, E. Arne")
1.  Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Causing Severe Infections in Norway in 2006 to 2007: emm Types, Multilocus Sequence Types, and Superantigen Profiles ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;48(3):842-851.
To investigate the epidemiological patterns and genetic characteristics of disease caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS), all available isolates from invasive cases in Norway during 2006 to 2007 (262 isolates) were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, T serotyping, emm typing, and multilocus sequence typing and screened for known streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin (Spe) genes, smeZ, and ssa. The average incidence rate was 3.1 cases per 100,000 individuals. The most prevalent sequence types (STs) were STs 52, 28, and 334. In association with emm types 28, 77, and 87, the serotype T-28 comprised 24.8% of the strains. emm types 28, 1, and 82 were dominating. In 2007, a sharp increase in the number of emm-6 strains was noted. All strains were sensitive to penicillin and quinupristin-dalfopristin, while 3.4% and 6.1% of the strains were resistant to macrolides and tetracycline, respectively. Furthermore, the emm-6 strains had intermediate susceptibility to ofloxacin. Isolates displayed a wide variety of gene profiles, as shown by the presence or absence of the Spe genes, smeZ, and ssa, but 48% of the isolates fell into one of three profiles. In most cases, an emm type was restricted to one gene profile. Although the incidence decreased during this study, invasive GAS disease still has a high endemic rate, with involvement of both established and emerging emm types displaying variability in virulence gene profiles as well as differences in gender and age group preferences.
PMCID: PMC2832411  PMID: 20042624
2.  Impact of a Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination Program on Carriage among Children in Norway▿  
In July 2006, the seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced in Norway with a reduced (2 doses + 1 boost) dose schedule. Post-PCV7 shifts in pneumococcal reservoirs were assessed by two point prevalence studies of nasopharyngeal colonization among children in day care centers, before (2006) and after (2008) widespread use of PCV7. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from 1,213 children, 611 in 2006 and 602 in 2008. A total of 1,102 pneumococcal isolates were recovered. Serotyping, multilocus sequence typing, and antimicrobial drug susceptibility testing were performed on all isolates. Although carriage of PCV7 serotypes decreased among both vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage remained high (80.4%) after vaccine introduction. The pneumococcal populations were diverse, and in the shift toward non-PCV7 serotypes, expansion of a limited number of established clonal complexes was observed. While non-antimicrobial-susceptible clones persisted among PCV7 serotypes, antimicrobial resistance did not increase among non-PCV7 serotypes. Direct and indirect protection of PCV7 against nasopharyngeal colonization was inferred from an overall decrease in carriage of PCV7 serotypes. No preference was found for nonsusceptible clones among the replacing non-PCV7 serotypes.
PMCID: PMC2837970  PMID: 20107006
3.  Critical Roles of Complement and Antibodies in Host Defense Mechanisms against Neisseria meningitidis as Revealed by Human Complement Genetic Deficiencies ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2009;78(2):802-809.
Certain complement defects are associated with an increased propensity to contract Neisseria meningitidis infections. We performed detailed analyses of complement-mediated defense mechanisms against N. meningitidis 44/76 with whole blood and serum from two adult patients who were completely C2 or C5 deficient. The C5-deficient patient and the matched control were also deficient in mannose-binding lectin (MBL). The proliferation of meningococci incubated in freshly drawn whole blood was estimated by CFU and quantitative DNA real-time PCR. The serum bactericidal activity and opsonophagocytic activity by granulocytes were investigated, including heat-inactivated postvaccination sera, to examine the influence of antimeningococcal antibodies. The meningococci proliferated equally in C2- and C5-deficient blood, with a 2 log10 increase of CFU and 4- to 5-log10 increase in DNA copies. Proliferation was modestly decreased in reconstituted C2-deficient and control blood. After reconstitution of C5-deficient blood, all meningococci were killed, which is consistent with high antibody titers being present. The opsonophagocytic activity was strictly C2 dependent, appeared with normal serum, and increased with postvaccination serum. Serum bactericidal activity was strictly dependent on C2, C5, and high antibody titers. MBL did not influence any of the parameters observed. Complement-mediated defense against meningococci was thus dependent on the classical pathway. Some opsonophagocytic activity occurred despite low levels of antimeningococcal antibodies but was more efficient with immune sera. Serum bactericidal activity was dependent on C2, C5, and immune sera. MBL did not influence any of the parameters observed.
PMCID: PMC2812193  PMID: 19933829
4.  Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterization of Streptococcus pneumoniae Strains Colonizing Children Attending Day-Care Centers in Norway▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(8):2508-2518.
A cross-sectional study of nasopharyngeal colonization with Streptococcus pneumoniae was performed among 573 children attending 29 day-care centers (DCCs) in Norway prior to the start of mass vaccination with the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7). A sensitive sampling method was employed, including transport in an enrichment broth and serotyping of pneumococci directly from the broth, in addition to traditional single-colony isolation from blood agar plates. The prevalence of carriage was high, peaking at 88.7% in 2-year-olds. More than one serotype was isolated from 12.7% of the carriers. Of 509 isolates obtained, 227 (44.6%) belonged to the PCV-7 serotypes. Penicillin nonsusceptibility was rare (1.8% of the isolates). Nonsusceptibility to erythromycin (5.9%), clindamycin (2.0%), and tetracycline (5.5%) was associated with PCV-7 serotypes (P < 0.001). Multilocus sequence typing was performed on the whole strain collection, revealing 102 sequence types (STs), of which 31 (30.4%) were novel. Eleven isolates (2.2%) belonged to the England14-9 clone, and 19 isolates (3.7%) belonged to, or were single-locus variants of, the Portugal19F-21 clone. The pneumococcal populations within the DCCs were composed of a majority of isolates with STs shared between the DCCs and a minority of isolates with STs unique for each DCC. The highest numbers of different STs, including novel STs, were found within the most frequent serotypes. Our study indicates that carriage of S. pneumoniae is highly prevalent among children in Norwegian DCCs, with a genetically diverse pneumococcal population consisting of unique microepidemic DCC populations.
PMCID: PMC2519506  PMID: 18524970
5.  Specificity of Subcapsular Antibody Responses in Ethiopian Patients following Disease Caused by Serogroup A Meningococci▿  
Dissecting the specificities of human antibody responses following disease caused by serogroup A meningococci may be important for the development of improved vaccines. We performed a study of Ethiopian patients during outbreaks in 2002 and 2003. Sera were obtained from 71 patients with meningitis caused by bacteria of sequence type 7, as confirmed by PCR or culture, and from 113 Ethiopian controls. Antibody specificities were analyzed by immunoblotting (IB) against outer membrane antigen extracts of a reference strain and of the patients' own isolates and by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels against lipooligosaccharide (LOS) L11 and the proteins NadA and NspA. IB revealed that the main antigens targeted were the proteins PorA, PorB, RmpM, and Opa/OpcA, as well as LOS. MenA disease induced significant increases in IgG against LOS L11 and NadA. The IgG levels against LOS remained elevated following disease, whereas the IgG anti-NadA levels returned to acute-phase levels in the late convalescent phase. Among adults, the anti-LOS IgG levels were similar in acute-phase patient sera as in control sera, whereas anti-NadA IgG levels were significantly higher in acute-phase sera than in controls. The IgG antibody levels against LOS and NadA correlated moderately but significantly with serum bactericidal activity against MenA strains. Future studies on immune response during MenA disease should take into account the high levels of anti-MenA polysaccharide IgG commonly found in the population and seek to clarify the role of antibodies against subcapsular antigens in protection against MenA disease.
PMCID: PMC2394845  PMID: 18337382
6.  Sequence Type and emm Type Diversity in Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Causing Invasive Disease in Norway between 1988 and 2003 ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(6):2102-2105.
The incidence of invasive group A streptococcal disease has increased in Norway since the 1980s. Analysis of 100 isolates recovered from 1988 to 2003 showed an increased genotypic diversity over time, while the prevalence of the strain that dominated in 1988, sequence type (ST)-28/emm-1, decreased. Necrotizing fasciitis was often associated with ST-15/emm-3.
PMCID: PMC2446838  PMID: 18417661
7.  Genetic and Biochemical Characterization of CAD-1, a Chromosomally Encoded New Class A Penicillinase from Carnobacterium divergens▿  
Carnobacterium divergens clinical isolates BM4489 and BM4490 were resistant to penicillins but remained susceptible to combinations of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and piperacillin-tazobactam. Cloning and sequencing of the responsible determinant from BM4489 revealed a coding sequence of 912 bp encoding a class A β-lactamase named CAD-1. The blaCAD-1 gene was assigned to a chromosomal location in the two strains that had distinct pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns. CAD-1 shared 53% and 42% identity with β-lactamases from Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus, respectively. Alignment of CAD-1 with other class A β-lactamases indicated the presence of 25 out of the 26 isofunctional amino acids in class A β-lactamases. Escherichia coli harboring blaCAD-1 exhibited resistance to penams (benzylpenicillin and amoxicillin) and remained susceptible to amoxicillin in combination with clavulanic acid. Mature CAD-1 consisted of a 34.4-kDa polypeptide. Kinetic analysis indicated that CAD-1 exhibited a narrow substrate profile, hydrolyzing benzylpenicillin, ampicillin, and piperacillin with catalytic efficiencies of 6,600, 3,200, and 2,900 mM−1 s−1, respectively. The enzyme did not interact with oxyiminocephalosporins, imipenem, or aztreonam. CAD-1 was inhibited by tazobactam (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50] = 0.27 μM), clavulanic acid (IC50 = 4.7 μM), and sulbactam (IC50 = 43.5 μM). The blaCAD-1 gene is likely to have been acquired by BM4489 and BM4490 as part of a mobile genetic element, since it was not found in the susceptible type strain CIP 101029 and was adjacent to a gene for a resolvase.
PMCID: PMC2224782  PMID: 18070972
8.  Serum Antibody Responses in Ethiopian Meningitis Patients Infected with Neisseria meningitidis Serogroup A Sequence Type 7▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2007;14(4):451-463.
To elucidate critical components of protective immune responses induced during the natural course of serogroup A meningococcal disease, we studied acute-, early-convalescent-, and late-convalescent-phase sera from Ethiopian patients during outbreaks in 2002 to 2003. Sera were obtained from laboratory-confirmed patients positive for serogroup A sequence type 7 (ST-7) meningococci (A:4/21:P1.20,9) (n = 71) and from Ethiopian controls (n = 113). The sera were analyzed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) against serogroup A polysaccharide (APS) and outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) and for serum bactericidal activity (SBA) using both rabbit and human complement sources. Despite relatively high SBA titers and high levels of IgG against APS and OMVs in acute-phase patient sera, significant increases were seen in the early convalescent phase. Antibody concentrations returned to acute-phase levels in the late convalescent phase. Considering all patients' sera, a significant but low correlation (r = 0.46) was observed between SBA with rabbit complement (rSBA) using an ST-5 reference strain and SBA with human complement (hSBA) using an ST-7 strain from Ethiopia. While rSBA demonstrated a significant linear relation with IgG against APS, hSBA demonstrated significant linear relationships with IgG against both APS and OMV. This study indicates that antibodies against both outer membrane proteins and APS may be important in providing the protection induced during disease, as measured by hSBA. Therefore, outer membrane proteins could also have a role as components of future meningococcal vaccines for the African meningitis belt.
PMCID: PMC1865611  PMID: 17301215
9.  Molecular Characterization of Non-Penicillin-Susceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae in Norway 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(9):3225-3230.
A total of 125 non-penicillin-susceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were received at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in the period from 1995 to 2001. The strains were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, serotyped, and genotyped by multilocus sequence typing (MLST); and their penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) were typed by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of their pbp genes. Of the 125 strains, 48 (38%) were fully resistant to penicillin and 77 (62%) were intermediately resistant to penicillin. Most of the strains resistant to penicillin were also resistant to one or several additional antibiotics. The most frequent serotypes among the non-penicillin-susceptible strains were 14, 9V, 19F, 23F, and 6B. MLST analysis showed a high degree of genetic diversity among the 119 strains tested, with a total of 74 different sequence types. Six of the 26 internationally known resistant clones were present; the Spain9V-3 clone was the most frequent, with 19 isolates. A total of 74 (62%) of the isolates were related to 1 of the 26 international clones. Restriction enzyme analyses of the pbp1a, pbp2b, and pbp2x genes revealed 12, 12, and 19 different patterns, respectively; and a total of 43 different PBPs types were demonstrated. Our data indicate that the non-penicillin-susceptible strains in Norway are highly diverse genetically and that limited spread of the internationally known resistant strains occurred in the country in the period examined.
PMCID: PMC1594730  PMID: 16954252
10.  Characterization of Neisseria meningitidis Isolates from Recent Outbreaks in Ethiopia and Comparison with Those Recovered during the Epidemic of 1988 to 1989 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(3):861-871.
The objectives of this study were to collect and characterize epidemic meningococcal isolates from Ethiopia from 2002 to 2003 and to compare them to 21 strains recovered during the previous large epidemic of 1988 to 1989. Ninety-five patients in all age groups with clinical signs of meningitis and a turbid cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample were included in the study of isolates from 2002 to 2003. Seventy-one patients (74.7%) were confirmed as having Neisseria meningitidis either by culture (n = 40) or by porA PCR (n = 31) of their CSF. The overall case fatality rate (CFR) was 11.6%; the N. meningitidis-specific CFR was 4.2%. All 40 strains were fully susceptible to all antibiotics tested except sulfonamide, were serotyped as A:4/21:P1.20,9, and belonged to sequence type 7 (ST-7). The strains from 1988 to 1989 were also equally susceptible and were characterized as A:4/21:P1.20,9, but they belonged to ST-5. Antigenic characterization of the strains revealed differences in the repertoire of lipooligosaccharides and Opa proteins between the old and the recent strains. PCR analysis of the nine lgt genes revealed the presence of the lgtAHFG genes in both old and recent strains; lgtB was present in only some of the strains, but no correlation with sequence type was observed. Further analysis showed that in addition to their pgm alleles, the Ethiopian ST-5 and ST-7 strains also differed in their tbpB, opa, fetA, and lgtA genes. The occurrence of new antigenic structures in strains sharing the same serogroup, PorA, and PorB may help explain the replacement of ST-5 by ST-7 in the African meningitis belt.
PMCID: PMC1393097  PMID: 16517868
11.  Interlaboratory Standardization of the Measurement of Serum Bactericidal Activity by Using Human Complement against Meningococcal Serogroup B, Strain 44/76-SL, before and after Vaccination with the Norwegian MenBvac Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine 
There is currently no standardized serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) assay for evaluating immune responses to meningococcal outer membrane vesicle or protein vaccines. Four laboratories, Manchester Health Protection Agency (MC HPA), New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (NZ ESR), Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), and Chiron Vaccines (Chiron), measured SBA titers in the same panel of human sera (n = 76) from laboratory staff (n = 21) vaccinated with MenBvac. Blood samples were collected prevaccination, prior to each of the three doses of MenBvac given at 6-week intervals, and 6 weeks following the third dose. Initial results showed a number of discrepancies in results between the four participating laboratories. The greatest effect on titers appeared to be due to differences among laboratories in the maintenance of the meningococcal serogroup B test strain, 44/76-SL. A repeat study was conducted using the same frozen isolate (meningococcal serogroup B test strain 44/76-SL), freshly distributed to all four laboratories. Using SBA titers from the tilt method for all samples, and using MC HPA as the comparator, the results were as follows for NZ ESR, NIPH, and Chiron, respectively, using log10 titers: correlation coefficients (r) were 0.966, 0.967, and 0.936; intercepts were 0.08, 0.15, and 0.17; and slopes were 0.930, 0.851, and 0.891. In both prevaccination and postvaccination samples from 15 subjects assayed by all four laboratories, similar increases in SBA (fourfold or greater) were observed (for 11, 11, 9, and 9 subjects for MC HPA, NZ ESR, NIPH, and Chiron, respectively), and similar percentages of subjects with SBA titers of ≥4 prevaccination and 6 weeks following each dose were found. The SBA assay has been harmonized between the four different laboratories with good agreement on seroconversion rates, n-fold changes in titers, and percentages of subjects with SBA titers of ≥4.
PMCID: PMC1182195  PMID: 16085915
12.  Combined Administration of Meningococcal Serogroup B Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine and Conjugated Serogroup C Vaccine Indicated for Prevention of Meningococcal Disease Is Safe and Immunogenic 
MenBvac and Menjugate are safe and efficacious vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate safety and immunogenicity of the combination (MenB/C) of the lyophilized active components of the conjugated group C vaccine Menjugate when reconstituted with the full liquid group B outer membrane vesicle vaccine MenBvac compared to MenBvac and Menjugate given separately. At 6-week intervals, healthy adults were given one dose of MenB/C followed by two doses of MenBvac (MenB/C group), three doses of MenBvac (MenB group), or one dose of Menjugate and two doses of placebo (MenC group). Injection site reactions were frequent in all groups. However, most reactions were short lasting and mild or moderate in intensity, and the vaccines were found to be well tolerated, with no vaccine-related serious adverse events. MenB/C was immunogenic with regard to both serogroup B and C meningococci. Both the serum bactericidal assay and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analyses showed that the immune responses of the combination vaccine were similar to the immune responses of its separate components MenBvac and Menjugate for both serogroup B and C. In conclusion, the combined MenB/C vaccine is safe and immunogenic. The two vaccines do not interact negatively with each other and can easily be administered in the same syringe. The induced immune responses suggest that the combined vaccine is likely to confer protection against systemic group B disease caused by the vaccine strain as well as against group C meningococcal disease.
PMCID: PMC1112071  PMID: 15879021
13.  Local and Systemic Antibody Responses in Mice Immunized Intranasally with Native and Detergent-Extracted Outer Membrane Vesicles from Neisseria meningitidis  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(5):2528-2537.
The mouse humoral immune response toward native or detergent-extracted outer membrane vesicles (NOMVs and DOMVs, respectively) from Neisseria meningitidis was determined after intranasal immunization. Both preparations elicited high frequencies of NOMV-specific antibody-forming cells (AFCs) locally in the nasal associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) after three or four weekly doses. The diffuse NALT (D-NALT) contained ca. 10-fold more NOMV-specific AFCs than those observed in the mediastinal lymph node, spleen, and bone marrow. AFCs observed in the D-NALT were primarily immunoglobulin A positive (IgA+) and were maintained for at least 1 month. In contrast, the organized NALT (O-NALT) contained low numbers of AFCs, and the response was relatively short-lived. In other lymphoid tissues, AFCs producing various IgG subclasses and IgM were present with IgG2b-producing AFCs being dominant or codominant with IgA or IgG2a. In serum and in all of the tissues examined, with the exception of the NALT, NOMVs clearly induced a stronger antibody response and a broader range of antibody isotypes than DOMVs. The development of NOMV-specific AFCs in spleen and bone marrow after intranasal immunization was slow compared to intravenous immunization but, once established, the intranasally elicited responses increased steadily for at least 75 days. NOMV-specific antibodies induced via several routes of immunization had high bactericidal activities in serum. Our results indicated that intranasally administered OMVs induced strong local and systemic antibody responses in mice that were relatively long-lived.
PMCID: PMC387915  PMID: 15102760
14.  Construction and Functional Activities of Chimeric Mouse-Human Immunoglobulin G and Immunoglobulin M Antibodies against the Neisseria meningitidis PorA P1.7 and P1.16 Epitopes  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(10):5714-5723.
We studied the in vitro protective activities of human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), IgG3, and IgM antibodies against group B meningococci by constructing sets of chimeric mouse-human antibodies (chIgG1, chIgG3, and chIgM, respectively) with identical binding regions against the P1.7 and P1.16 epitopes on PorA. This was done by cloning the V genes of three mouse hybridoma antibodies and subsequently transfecting vectors containing the homologous heavy- and light-chain genes into NSO cells. Cell clones secreting intact human chIgG1, chIgG3, or chIgM antibodies originating from three parent mouse antibodies were isolated. The functional affinities appeared to be similar for all human isotypes and surprisingly also for the pentameric chIgM antibody. chIgG1 exhibited greater serum bactericidal activity (SBA) than chIgG3, while chIgG3 was more efficient in inducing a respiratory burst (RB) associated with opsonophagocytosis than chIgG1 was. On the other hand, chIgM exhibited SBA similar to that of chIgG1, but it exhibited much higher RB activity than chIgG3 and chIgG1 exhibited. The antibodies against the P1.16 epitope were more efficient in terms of SBA than the antibodies against the P1.7 epitope were; thus, 10- to 40-fold-lower concentrations of antibodies against P1.16 than of antibodies against P1.7 were needed to induce SBA. On the other hand, antibodies against these epitopes were equally effective in inducing RB. Our results revealed differences in the functional activities of human chIgG1, chIgG3, and chIgM antibodies against meningococci, which might influence their protective effects against meningococcal disease.
PMCID: PMC201080  PMID: 14500492
15.  Influence of Intravenous Anesthesia on Mucosal and Systemic Antibody Responses to Nasal Vaccines  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(10):5479-5484.
Inhalation of antigens may stimulate the immune system by way of the upper as well as the lower airways. We have shown that at least 1,000 times more live pneumococci were recovered from pulmonary tissue after being presented as drops of a liquid suspension onto the nares of anesthetized mice compared to the number of bacteria recovered from animals that were not anesthetized in the course of the challenge. Mice that were similarly immunized intranasally by inhalation of three different nonreplicating particulate vaccine formulations, i.e., a meningococcal outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccine, a formalin-inactivated whole-virus influenza (INV) vaccine, and the INV vaccine with OMVs as a mucosal adjuvant, during general intravenous anesthesia developed concentrations of vaccine-specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies that were four to nine times higher than in mice that were fully awake during immunizations. The concentrations of IgA antibodies in serum were also higher in anesthetized than in nonanesthetized mice and correlated positively with the corresponding levels of serum IgG antibodies in the anesthetized but not in the nonanesthetized mice. In saliva and feces, however, the concentrations of IgA antibodies were equally high whether or not the animals were dormant during immunizations. The results indicate that intrapulmonary antigen presentation, as a part of an intranasal immunization strategy, is of importance for systemic but not for mucosal antibody responses. A major portion of IgA antibodies in serum may thus be derived from nonmucosal sites.
PMCID: PMC128324  PMID: 12228273
16.  Meningococcal Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine Given Intranasally Can Induce Immunological Memory and Booster Responses without Evidence of Tolerance 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(8):5010-5015.
We have studied the ability of outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccines from Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B to induce vaccine-specific antibody and spleen cell proliferative responses in mice after being administered intranasally (i.n.) and/or subcutaneously (s.c.). A series of four weekly i.n. doses (25 μg) without adjuvant or a single s.c. dose (2.5 μg) with aluminum hydroxide was followed 2 months later by secondary i.n. or s.c. immunizations. After i.n. priming, both immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody responses in serum, measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and IgA antibodies in saliva and extracts of feces were significantly boosted by later i.n. immunizations. The IgG antibody responses in serum were also significantly augmented by secondary s.c. immunization after i.n. as well as s.c. priming. Sera from mice immunized i.n. reached the same level of bactericidal activity as after s.c. immunizations. The s.c. immunizations alone, however, had no effect on mucosal IgA antibody responses, but could prime for booster antibody responses in secretions to later i.n. immunizations. The i.n. immunizations also led to marked OMV-specific spleen cell proliferation in vitro. Both serum antibody responses and spleen cell proliferation were higher after i.n. priming and later s.c. immunizations than after s.c. immunizations alone. There was thus no evidence that i.n. priming had induced immunological tolerance within the B- or T-cell system. Our results indicate that a nonproliferating meningococcal OMV vaccine given i.n. can induce immunological memory and that it may be favorably combined with similar vaccines for injections.
PMCID: PMC98594  PMID: 11447180
17.  Functional Activities and Epitope Specificity of Human and Murine Antibodies against the Class 4 Outer Membrane Protein (Rmp) of Neisseria meningitidis 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(3):1267-1276.
Antibodies against the class 4 outer membrane protein (OMP) from Neisseria meningitidis have been purified from sera from vaccinees immunized with the Norwegian meningococcal group B outer membrane vesicle vaccine. The human sera and purified antibodies reacted strongly with the class 4 OMP in immunoblots, whereas experiments with whole bacteria showed only weak reactions, indicating that the antibodies mainly reacted with parts of the class 4 molecule that were not exposed. The purified human anti-class 4 OMP antibodies and the monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were neither bactericidal nor opsonic against live meningococci. Three new MAbs against the class 4 OMP were generated and compared with other, previously described MAbs. Three linear epitopes in different regions of the class 4 OMP were identified by the reaction of MAbs with synthetic peptides. The MAbs showed no blocking effect on bactericidal activity of MAbs against other OMPs. However, one of the eight purified human anti-class 4 OMP antibody preparations, selected from immunoblot reactions among sera from 27 vaccinees, inhibited at high concentrations the bactericidal effect of a MAb against the class 1 OMP. However, these antibodies were not vaccine induced, as they were present also before vaccination. Therefore, this study gave no evidence that vaccination with a meningococcal outer membrane vesicle vaccine containing the class 4 OMP induces blocking antibodies. Our data indicated that the structure of class 4 OMP does not correspond to standard β-barrel structures of integral OMPs and that no substantial portion of the OmpA-like C-terminal region of this protein is located at the surface of the outer membrane.
PMCID: PMC96456  PMID: 10024570
18.  Antigen-Specific T-Cell Responses in Humans after Intranasal Immunization with a Meningococcal Serogroup B Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(2):921-927.
We have studied the ability of the Norwegian group B meningococcal outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccine, when administered intranasally without adjuvant, to induce T-cell responses in humans. A group of 12 vaccinees was immunized with four doses of OMVs (250 μg of protein/dose) at weekly intervals, and a single booster dose was given 5 months later. In vitro T-cell proliferation in response to the OMV vaccine, purified PorA (class 1) protein, PorB (class 3) protein, and one unrelated control antigen (Mycobacterium bovis BCG) was measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation into peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from the vaccinees before and after the immunizations. The nasal OMV immunizations induced antigen-specific T-cell responses in the majority of the vaccinees when tested against OMVs (7 of 12) and the PorA antigen (11 of 12). None of the vaccinees showed a vaccine-induced T-cell response to the PorB antigen after the initial four doses. Although some individuals responded to all the vaccine antigens after the booster dose, this response was not significant when the vaccinees were analyzed as a group. We have also demonstrated that the PorA antigen-specific T-cell responses correlated with anti-OMV immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in nasal secretions, with anti-OMV IgG levels in serum, and with serum bactericidal activity. In conclusion, we have shown that it is possible to induce antigen-specific T-cell responses in humans by intranasal administration of a meningococcal OMV vaccine without adjuvant.
PMCID: PMC96405  PMID: 9916109
19.  Intranasal Administration of a Meningococcal Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccine Induces Persistent Local Mucosal Antibodies and Serum Antibodies with Strong Bactericidal Activity in Humans 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(4):1334-1341.
A nasal vaccine, consisting of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) from group B Neisseria meningitidis, was given to 12 volunteers in the form of nose drops or nasal spray four times at weekly intervals, with a fifth dose 5 months later. Each nasal dose consisted of 250 μg of protein, equivalent to 10 times the intramuscular dose that was administered twice with a 6-week interval to 11 other volunteers. All individuals given the nasal vaccine developed immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody responses to OMVs in nasal secretions, and eight developed salivary IgA antibodies which persisted for at least 5 months. Intramuscular immunizations did not lead to antibody responses in the secretions. Modest increases in serum IgG antibodies were obtained in 5 volunteers who had been immunized intranasally, while 10 individuals responded strongly to the intramuscular vaccine. Both the serum and secretory antibody responses reached a maximum after two to three doses of the nasal vaccine, with no significant booster effect of the fifth dose. The pattern of serum antibody specificities against the different OMV components after intranasal immunizations was largely similar to that obtained with the intramuscular vaccine. Five and eight vaccinees in the nasal group developed persistent increases in serum bactericidal titers to the homologous meningococcal vaccine strain expressing low and high levels, respectively, of the outer membrane protein Opc. Our results indicate that meningococcal OMVs possess the structures necessary to initiate systemic as well as local mucosal immune responses when presented as a nasal vaccine. Although the serum antibody levels were less conspicuous than those after intramuscular vaccinations, the demonstration of substantial bactericidal activity indicates that a nonproliferating nasal vaccine might induce antibodies of high functional quality.
PMCID: PMC108057  PMID: 9529050

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