We measured anti-Hia capsular polysaccharide serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in cord blood sera from Mexican (n=68) and Chilean mothers (n=72) by ELISA. Measurable antibodies were found in 79.3% of samples. IgG antibodies correlated with serum bactericidal activity (r=0.66). This ELISA can be used for the evaluation of adaptive immune responses to Hia and sero-surveillance studies in populations at risk.
Haemophilus influenzae type a; ELISA; anti-capsular antibodies
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite the availability of effective pneumococcal vaccines. Understanding the molecular interactions between the bacterium and the host will contribute to the control and prevention of pneumococcal disease.
We used a combination of adherence assays, mutagenesis and functional genomics to identify novel factors involved in adherence. By contrasting these processes in two pneumococcal strains, TIGR4 and G54, we showed that adherence and invasion capacities vary markedly by strain. Electron microscopy showed more adherent bacteria in association with membranous pseudopodia in the TIGR4 strain. Operons for cell wall phosphorylcholine incorporation (lic), manganese transport (psa) and phosphate utilization (phn) were up-regulated in both strains on exposure to epithelial cells. Pneumolysin, pili, stress protection genes (adhC-czcD) and genes of the type II fatty acid synthesis pathway were highly expressed in the naturally more invasive strain, TIGR4. Deletion mutagenesis of five gene regions identified as regulated in this study revealed attenuation in adherence. Most strikingly, ∆SP_1922 which was predicted to contain a B-cell epitope and revealed significant attenuation in adherence, appeared to be expressed as a part of an operon that includes the gene encoding the cytoplasmic pore-forming toxin and vaccine candidate, pneumolysin.
This work identifies a list of novel potential pneumococcal adherence determinants.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Gene expression; Microarray; Adherence; Invasion; Genome; Mutagenesis; SP_1922; Ply operon
Viral upper respiratory tract infections are associated with increased colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae but the mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear. The objective of this study is to describe a comprehensive picture of the cellular interaction between the adhering bacteria and host cells in the presence or absence of a viral co-infection.
Gene expression profiles of Detroit-562 pharyngeal cells, which were either mock-infected or infected with human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV3), were analyzed using human microarrays. Transcription response of S. pneumoniae strain TIGR4 (serotype 4) in the presence of either mock- or viral-infected cells was analyzed by pneumococcal microarray. Significantly regulated genes were identified by both significance analysis of microarray (SAM) and a ≥ 2-fold change ratio cut-off. The adherence of S. pneumoniae to human pharyngeal cells was significantly augmented in the presence of RSV or HPIV3 infection. Global gene expression profiling of the host cells during infection with RSV or HPIV3 revealed increased transcription of carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAM1), CD47, fibronectin, interferon-stimulated genes and many other host cell adhesion molecules. Pneumococci increased transcription of several genes involved in adhesive functions (psaA, pilus islet), choline uptake and incorporation (lic operon), as well as transport and binding.
We have identified a core transcriptome that represents the basic machinery required for adherence of pneumococci to D562 cells infected or not infected with a virus. These bacterial genes and cell adhesion molecules can potentially be used to control pneumococcal adherence occurring secondary to a viral infection.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; RSV; HPIV3; Gene expression; Microarray; Adherence; Bacterial-viral co-infection
Haemophilus influenzae type a (Hia) is an important pathogen for some American Indian, Alaskan native, and Northern Canada aboriginal populations. Assays to measure serum bactericidal activity (SBA) to Hia have not been developed or validated. Here, we describe two methods for the measurement of SBA: SBA with a viability endpoint (CFU counts) and SBA with a fluorometric endpoint using alamarBlue as the metabolic indicator. Both SBA assays measure Hia-specific functional antibody and correlate with anti-Hia IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) concentration of naturally acquired antibodies.
Antibody-mediated killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) by phagocytes is an important mechanism of protection of the human host against pneumococcal infections. Measurement of opsonophagocytic antibodies by use of a standardized opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) is important for the evaluation of candidate vaccines and required for the licensure of new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine formulations. We assessed agreement among six laboratories that used their own optimized OPAs on a panel of 16 human reference sera for 13 pneumococcal serotypes. Consensus titers, estimated using an analysis-of-variance (ANOVA) mixed-effects model, provided a common reference for assessing agreement among these laboratories. Agreement was evaluated in terms of assay accuracy, reproducibility, repeatability, precision, and bias. We also reviewed four acceptance criterion intervals for assessing the comparability of protocols when assaying the same reference sera. The precision, accuracy, and concordance results among laboratories and the consensus titers revealed acceptable agreement. The results of this study indicate that the bioassays evaluated in this study are robust, and the resultant OPA values are reproducible for the determination of functional antibody titers specific to 13 pneumococcal serotypes when performed by laboratories using highly standardized but not identical assays. The statistical methodologies employed in this study may serve as a template for evaluating future multilaboratory studies.
Serotype-specific IgG, as quantified by a standardized WHO enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), is a serologic end point used to evaluate pneumococcal polysaccharide-based vaccine immunogenicity. Antibodies to each vaccine polysaccharide in licensed multivalent vaccines are quantified separately; this is laborious and consumes serum. We compared three bead-based immunoassays: a commercial assay (xMAP Pneumo14; Luminex) and two in-house assays (of the Health Protection Agency [HPA] and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), using the WHO-recommended standard reference and reference sera (n = 11) from vaccinated adults. Multiple comparisons of the IgG concentrations for seven conjugate vaccine serotypes were performed by sample (percent error), serotype (equivalency testing), and laboratory (concordance correlation coefficient [CCC]). When comparing concentrations by sample, bead-based immunoassays generally yielded higher antibody concentrations than the ELISA and had higher variability for serotypes 6B, 18C, and 23F. None of the three assays met the current WHO recommendation of 75% of sera falling within 40% of the assigned antibody concentrations for all seven serotypes. When compared by serotype, the CDC and HPA tests were equivalent for five of seven serotypes, whereas the Luminex assay was equivalent for four of seven serotypes. When overall mean IgG concentrations were compared by laboratory, a higher level of agreement (CCC close to 1) was found among bead-based immunoassays than between the assays and WHO assignments. When compared to WHO assignments, the HPA assay outperformed the other assays (r = 0.920; CCC = 0.894; coefficient of accuracy = 0.972). Additional testing with sera from immunogenicity studies should demonstrate the applicability of this methodology for vaccine evaluation.
The 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide (Ps) vaccine offer protection against vaccine serotypes, but its cross-protection against vaccine-related serotypes is variable. We have demonstrated that the functional antibodies to serotype 15B are specific to the O-acetylated 15B-Ps and that they have low cross-reactivity with serotype 15C. Demonstration of functionally cross-reactive antibodies to vaccine-related serotypes is important for surveillance and vaccine development.
Continued Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) carriage in rural Alaska contributes to the ongoing risk of invasive disease. Community-wide Hib carriage surveys were conducted in three villages in southwestern Alaska. Sixteen carriers and 32 age- and village-matched controls were enrolled and were vaccinated with Hib oligosaccharide-CRM197 conjugate vaccine. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration, antibody avidity, and serum bactericidal activity (SBA) were measured prior to Hib vaccination and 2 and 12 months after vaccination. We identified no demographic or behavioral factors associated with Hib colonization. Prior to vaccination, Hib carriers had a higher IgG geometric mean concentration than controls did (8.2 versus 1.6 μg/ml; P < 0.001) and a higher SBA geometric mean titer (7,132 versus 1,235; P = 0.006). Both groups responded to vaccination with increased IgG and SBA. These data illustrate the role of Hib colonization as an immunizing event and show that Hib carriers in communities with ongoing transmission have no evidence of reduced immune responsiveness that may have put them at risk for colonization.
The determination of functional antipneumococcal capsular polysaccharide antibodies by sequential testing of pre- and postvaccination serum samples one serotype at a time is sample-intensive and time-consuming and has a relatively low throughput. We tested several opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) formats, including the reference killing method, a monovalent bacterium-based flow method, a trivalent bacterium-based flow method, and a tetravalent bead-based flow method using a panel of sera (4 prevaccination and 16 postvaccination, from healthy adults immunized with the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine). The trivalent and tetravalent methods allow simultaneous measurements of opsonic antibodies to multiple pneumococcal serotypes. The trivalent bacterial-flow OPA had significant correlation to the reference OPA method and to a previously published flow cytometric OPA (r values ranged from 0.61 to 0.91, P < 0.05) for serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F. The tetravalent OPA had significant correlation to all OPA method formats tested (r values from 0.68 to 0.92, P < 0.05) for all seven serotypes tested. This tetravalent OPA is an alternative to other OPA methods for use during vaccine evaluation and clinical trials. Further, the flow cytometric multiplex OPA format has the potential for expansion beyond the current four serotypes to eight or more serotypes, which would further increase relative sample throughput while reducing reagent and sample volumes used.
We developed fluorescent mono- and multivalent opsonophagocytic assays (fOPA and fmOPA, respectively) specific for seven Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes (4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F). Bacterial survival was quantitated with alamar blue, a fluorescent metabolic indicator. Both fOPA and fmOPA allow for determination of viability endpoints for up to seven serotypes with high levels of agreement to the reference method. The fmOPA eliminates colony counting, reduces serum volume, and produces results in 1 day.
Determination of antibody avidity measurements can be difficult in human serum depending on the population evaluated. We evaluated three approaches for the determination of antibody avidity for immunoglobulin G (IgG). These approaches were (i) elution of bound antibody with increasing concentrations of a chaotropic agent using a single serum dilution, (ii) binding interference of multiple serum dilutions by a single concentration of a chaotrope, and (iii) elution of multiple serum dilutions by a single concentration of a chaotrope. Parameters that affect the determination of avidity measurements and their limitations were evaluated with pre- and post-Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccination sera (n = 89). We determined that elution of low-avidity antibodies present in multiple dilutions of the serum sample by a single concentration of a chaotrope (0.15 M sodium thiocyanate [NaSCN]) was optimal for the determination of avidity measurements throughout a wide range of IgG concentrations (0.94 to 304.6 μg/ml). The percent reduction in concentration as determined by the elution assay with 0.15 M NaSCN correlated highly (r = 0.84) with weighted averages obtained by an elution assay with multiple solutions of NaSCN. The correlation (r = 0.57) between elution and binding interference, when a single concentration of a chaotrope was used, was lower than the correlation between the two elution methods (r = 0.84). We found that the serum dilution, the heterogeneity of the antibody population, and the concentration of the chaotrope were the primary variables affecting avidity determinations. In this study, we present multiple analysis methods depending on the methodology used. We also present the factors that affect the analysis of avidity determinations given the polyclonal nature of human sera. This experimental approach should benefit the evaluation of similar antibodies induced by other bacterial polysaccharide vaccines.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a serious worldwide pathogen and the focus of numerous vaccine development projects. Currently the most widely accepted surrogate marker for evaluating the efficacy of a given vaccine is to utilize ELISA. Measurement of antibody concentration by ELISA without reduction in cross-reactive antibodies causes an overestimation of antibody concentration and therefore protection, this is most notable in the aged, an at risk group for this infection. We compared the immune response to the pneumococcal polysaccharides (PPS) 4 and 14 of 20 young to 20 elderly adults. Pre-and post-vaccination IgG antibody concentrations and antibody avidity against PPS4 and PPS14 were measured using two different enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) absorption protocols. All sera were pre-absorbed with either cell-wall polysaccharide (CPS), or CPS and serotype 22F polysaccharide.
Pre- and post-vaccination IgG antibody concentrations for serotype 4, but not 14, were significantly lowered with the additional absorption with serotype 22F polysaccharide in both age groups. Young and elderly demonstrated a significant increase from pre- to post-immunization antibody concentration, using either absorption method; and opsonophagocytic antibody titers in response to both PPS4 and PPS14. The correlation coefficients between ELISA and opsonophagocytic assays were improved by additional absorption with serotype 22F in response to serotype 4, but not serotype 14 in all age groups. Opsonophagocytic antibody titers in a sub-group of elderly (>77 years of age) were significantly lower than the opsonophagocytic antibody concentrations in young adults.
These results suggest the importance of eliminating cross-reactive antibodies from ELISA measurements by absorption of serum and an age-related impairment in the antibody response to pneumococcal polysaccharides.
We evaluated alamarBlue as a metabolic indicator in a standardized assay for the measurement of serum bactericidal activity (SBA) to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) using sera containing natural and vaccine-induced anticapsular (polyribosylribitol phosphate) antibodies. SBA assays with a colorimetric and a fluorometric end point in the presence of alamarBlue were developed and compared to a standard SBA assay, where colony counts are performed to determine the titer (12). A colorimetric end point required a spectrophotometer, whereas a fluorometric end point required a fluorometer. Prevaccination sera (n = 27) and postvaccination sera (n = 13) were tested by all three methodologies, and the SBA titers obtained in the presence of alamarBlue were compared to those from the standard method. Both the colorimetric and the fluorometric SBA titers were significantly correlated (r = 0.87 and r = 0.95, respectively) with those of the standard assay (≥50% killing as the SBA titer end point), and titers were not significantly different when compared to those of the standard assay (P > 0.68). However, the fluorometric end point had superior performance and ease of titer determination compared to the colorimetric end point (95 versus 87% of SBA titers were within 2 dilutions of the standard titer). Hib SBA assays with alamarBlue are reproducible, faster (same-day assay), and easier to perform than the standardized assay, which requires manual or automated colony counts. These semiautomated methodologies result in increased sample throughput and collection of data in digital formats that can be exported to data analysis programs for determination of SBA titers.
Nonspecific antibodies, which are thought to be nonprotective, have been shown to contribute a substantial proportion of the measured concentration in the standardized immunoglobulin G (IgG) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for pneumococcal polysaccharide capsular antibodies. The presence of such antibodies in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons has not been evaluated. The amount of nonspecific antibodies is proportional to the reduction in IgG antibody concentration that occurs with serum absorption with the heterologous polysaccharide 22F. We measured the amount of nonspecific antibodies before and after vaccination with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV; n = 33) or the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV; n = 34) in HIV-infected adults with CD4 counts of ≥200 cells/mm3. Blood was drawn before and 2 months after vaccination. For prevaccination sera, we found a substantial amount of nonspecific antibodies for serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, and 23F (23 to 47% of measured IgG concentration), but not for serotype 14. There tended to be proportionately less nonspecific antibodies in postvaccine sera than prevaccine sera for PCV, but not for PPV. Subjects with a low HIV viral load (≤400 copies/ml) had proportionately more nonspecific antibodies than those with higher viral load before and after both vaccines. After 22F absorption, the geometric mean concentrations of antibodies were significantly higher post-PCV than post-PPV for the high viral load group for all five serotypes, but for no serotypes in the low viral load group. These findings confirm that absorption with a heterologous pneumococcal polysaccharide (e.g., 22F) is necessary to remove nonspecific antibodies in a standardized IgG ELISA for pneumococcal capsular antibodies in HIV-infected adults.
Opsonophagocytosis is a correlate of protection that measures the functional activity of vaccine-induced antibodies. A standardized opsonophagocytosis assay (OPA) should be used as part of the evaluation of current and future pneumococcal (Pnc) polysaccharide (Ps)-based vaccines. We enrolled five laboratories to evaluate a previously standardized viability OPA. Each laboratory was provided with a detailed OPA protocol, seven target Pnc strains (serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F), two quality control sera and 12 paired sera (blinded) from adult donors who received one dose of the 23-valent Pnc Ps vaccine. Laboratories sent their results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis. Sera were tested in duplicate (single run), and the results were averaged to yield a single OPA titer (≥50% killing) for each serum sample. The percentage of sera within one or two dilutions of the calculated median OPA titer was determined for each laboratory and for each serotype. In general, laboratories were capable of detecting OPA titers within one or two dilutions of the median for at least 75 and 88%, respectively, of the sera tested. The level of agreement with the median OPA titers varied depending on the participating laboratory (overall agreement = 0.8 [99% confidence interval = 0.75 to 0.85]). All OPA median titers reported for quality control sera were within one dilution of the expected titer. We conclude that this OPA can be done in multiple laboratories with a high degree of interlaboratory reproducibility.
The role of pneumococcal (Pnc) surface adhesin A (PsaA) in the adherence of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) to host cells is not well defined. We examined the effect of anti-PsaA antibodies in an inhibition of adherence assay using Detroit 562 nasopharyngeal human epithelial cells. Rabbit polyclonal (Pab) anti-recombinant PsaA (rPsaA) sera, a purified mouse monoclonal antibody (MAb) (MAb 6F62G8E12), and 22 healthy adult sera with known anti-PsaA IgG levels (obtained by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were evaluated for their abilities to inhibit Pnc adherence to confluent monolayers (measured as percent reduction in CFU counts compared to those of uninhibited controls). Pnc adherence was dependent on capsular phenotype (no or low adherence for opaque strains). With an inoculum of 104 to 105 bacteria/well, the mean ± standard deviation count in controls was 163 ± 32 CFU/well for transparent strains. Low adherence was observed for a PsaA-minus mutant even at higher inoculum doses. Mean percent inhibitions of adherence with Pab and MAb were 54 and 50%, respectively. Adult sera showed inhibition in a dose-response fashion with a range of 98 to 8%, depending on the serum anti-PsaA antibody concentration. Absorption of Pab with rPsaA restored Pnc adherence to control levels. Absorption of sera with a PsaA-minus mutant did not result in a significant decrease (P >0.05) of inhibition of adherence activity. Additionally, nearly 100% of Pnc adherence was inhibited by lipidated rPsaA at 2.5 μg/ml. Our data support the argument that PsaA is an adhesin that mediates Pnc adherence to human nasopharyngeal cells. This functional assay may be useful in evaluating antibodies elicited in response to PsaA vaccination.
The bioterrorism-associated human anthrax epidemic in the fall of 2001 highlighted the need for a sensitive, reproducible, and specific laboratory test for the confirmatory diagnosis of human anthrax. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed, optimized, and rapidly qualified an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in human serum. The qualified ELISA had a minimum detection limit of 0.06 µg/mL, a reliable lower limit of detection of 0.09 µg/mL, and a lower limit of quantification in undiluted serum specimens of 3.0 µg/mL anti-PA IgG. The diagnostic sensitivity of the assay was 97.8%, and the diagnostic specificity was 94.2%. A competitive inhibition anti-PA IgG ELISA was also developed to enhance diagnostic specificity to 100%. The anti-PA ELISAs proved valuable for the confirmation of cases of cutaneous and inhalational anthrax and evaluation of patients in whom the diagnosis of anthrax was being considered.
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; antibody; assay; toxin; bioterrorism; ELISA; serology
On October 15, 2001, a U.S. Senate staff member opened an envelope containing Bacillus anthracis spores. Chemoprophylaxis was promptly initiated and nasal swabs obtained for all persons in the immediate area. An epidemiologic investigation was conducted to define exposure areas and identify persons who should receive prolonged chemoprophylaxis, based on their exposure risk. Persons immediately exposed to B. anthracis spores were interviewed; records were reviewed to identify additional persons in this area. Persons with positive nasal swabs had repeat swabs and serial serologic evaluation to measure antibodies to B. anthracis protective antigen (anti-PA). A total of 625 persons were identified as requiring prolonged chemoprophylaxis; 28 had positive nasal swabs. Repeat nasal swabs were negative at 7 days; none had developed anti-PA antibodies by 42 days after exposure. Early nasal swab testing is a useful epidemiologic tool to assess risk of exposure to aerosolized B. anthracis. Early, wide chemoprophylaxis may have averted an outbreak of anthrax in this population.
Bacillus anthracis; nasal swabs; epidemiology; bioterrorism; postexposure prophylaxis
In October 2001, four cases of inhalational anthrax occurred in workers in a Washington, D.C., mail facility that processed envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores. We reviewed the envelopes’ paths and obtained exposure histories and nasal swab cultures from postal workers. Environmental sampling was performed. A sample of employees was assessed for antibody concentrations to B. anthracis protective antigen. Case-patients worked on nonoverlapping shifts throughout the facility. Environmental sampling showed diffuse contamination of the facility, suggesting multiple aerosolization events. Potential workplace exposures were similar for the case-patients and the sample of workers. All nasal swab cultures and serum antibody tests were negative. Available tools could not identify subgroups of employees at higher risk for exposure or disease. Prophylaxis was necessary for all employees. To protect postal workers against bioterrorism, measures to reduce the risk of occupational exposure are necessary.
bioterrorism; Bacillus anthracis; postal facility; inhalational anthrax
We assigned additional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antibody concentrations (immunoglobulin G [IgG], IgM, and IgA, and total) to the Neisseria meningitidis standard reference serum CDC1992 for groups Y and W-135 to 12 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quality control sera. These assignments will supplement previous assignments and will aid in the evaluation of present and developing vaccines.
We developed a polysaccharide-specific flow cytometric opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) for the simultaneous measurement of functional antibody to Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W135. OPA titers significantly correlated with serum bactericidal assay titers for all serogroups tested (mean r = 0.96; P < 0.001). OPA could be used in meningococcal vaccine evaluation.
We evaluated the functional activities of antibodies, serum bactericidal activity (SBA), and immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody avidity indices, using sodium thiocyanate (NaSCN) elution, elicited after vaccination with fractional doses of the Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate (polyribosylribitol phosphate [PRP] conjugated to tetanus toxoid [PRP-T]) vaccine. A cohort of 600 infants from the Dominican Republic were randomized to receive one of three regimens of the PRP-T vaccine at ages 2, 4, and 6 months: full doses (10 μg of PRP antigen), one-half doses (5.0 μg), and one-third doses (3.3 μg) (J. Fernandez et al., Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 62:485–490, 2000). Sixty serum samples, collected at age 7 months, with ≥2.0 μg of anti-PRP IgG per ml were randomly selected for avidity determinations. Geometric mean IgG concentrations were 13, 14, and 17 μg/ml for infants who received the full-dose (n = 19), one-half-dose (n = 19), and one-third-dose (n = 22) regimens, respectively. SBA geometric mean titers (1/dilution) were 85.0, 82.0, and 76.1 in sera from infants receiving the full-, one-half-, and one-third-dose regimens, respectively. Avidity indices (mean ± standard error weighted average of NaSCN molar concentration × serum dilution factor) were 71.9 ± 9.4, 123.6 ± 26.8, and 150.9 ± 24.9 for the full-, one-half-, and one-third-dose regimens, respectively. Upon comparison, the only significant difference (P = 0.024) found was a greater avidity index for sera from infants receiving the one-third-dose regimen than for sera from infants receiving the the full-dose regimen. We conclude that fractional doses elicit similar functional antibody activities in infants with ≥2 μg of anti-PRP IgG per ml, corresponding to 89, 90, and 97% of infants receiving three doses of either the full concentration or one-half or one-third of the labeled concentration, respectively. This approach offers an alternative strategy for the prevention of H. influenzae type b disease in countries with limited resources.
Opsonophagocytosis is the primary mechanism for clearance of
pneumococci from the host, and the measurement of opsonophagocytic
antibodies appears to correlate with vaccine-induced protection. We
developed a semiautomated flow cytometric opsonophagocytosis assay
using HL-60 granulocytes as effector cells and nonviable
5,6-carboxyfluorescein, succinimidyl ester-labeled Streptococcus
pneumoniae (serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F) as
bacterial targets. The flow cytometric opsonophagocytosis assay was
highly reproducible (for 87% of repetitive assays the titers were
within 1 dilution of the median titer) and serotype specific, with
≥97% inhibition of opsonophagocytic titer by addition of homologous
serotype-specific polysaccharide. In general, opsonophagocytic
titers were not significantly inhibited by the presence of either
heterologous pneumococcal polysaccharide or penicillin in the serum.
The flow cytometric assay could reproducibly measure functional
antibody activity in prevaccination (n = 28) and
postvaccination (n = 36) serum specimens from healthy
adult volunteers vaccinated with the 23-valent pneumococcal
polysaccharide vaccine. When compared with a standardized manual viable
opsonophagocytic assay, a high correlation (r = 0.89;
P ≤ 0.01) was found between the two assays for the
seven serotypes tested. The flow cytometric assay is rapid (∼4 h)
with high throughput (∼50 serum samples per day per technician) and
provides a reproducible measurement of serotype-specific
functional antibodies, making it a highly suitable assay for the
evaluation of the immune responses elicited by