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Toxins 2014, 6(8), 2424-2431; doi:10.3390/toxins6082424

Protective Antigen-Specific Memory B Cells Persist Years after Anthrax Vaccination and Correlate with Humoral Immunity

1
Department of Arthritis and Clinical Immunology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA
2
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 940 Stanton L. Young Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA
3
Military Vaccine Agency-Vaccine Healthcare Centers Network, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, 8901 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20889, USA
4
Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1000 Stanton L. Young Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 11 July 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Abstract

Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) generates short-lived protective antigen (PA) specific IgG that correlates with in vitro toxin neutralization and protection from Bacillus anthracis challenge. Animal studies suggest that when PA-specific IgG has waned, survival after spore challenge correlates with an activation of PA-specific memory B cells. Here, we characterize the quantity and the longevity of AVA-induced memory B cell responses in humans. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from individuals vaccinated ≥3 times with AVA (n = 50) were collected early (3–6 months, n = 27) or late after their last vaccination (2–5 years, n = 23), pan-stimulated, and assayed by ELISPOT for total and PA-specific memory B cells differentiated into antibody secreting cells (ASCs). PA-specific ASC percentages ranged from 0.02% to 6.25% (median: 1.57%) and did not differ between early and late post-vaccination individuals. PA-specific ASC percentages correlated with plasma PA-specific IgG (r = 0.42, p = 0.03) and toxin neutralization (r = 0.52, p = 0.003) early post vaccination. PA-specific ASC percentages correlated with supernatant anti-PA both early (r = 0.60, p = 0.001) and late post vaccination (r = 0.71, p < 0.0001). These data suggest PA-specific memory B cell responses are long-lived and can be estimated after recent vaccination by the magnitude and neutralization capacity of the humoral response.
Keywords: Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed; cellular immunity; lethal toxin neutralization; protective antigen Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed; cellular immunity; lethal toxin neutralization; protective antigen
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Garman, L.; Smith, K.; Farris, A.D.; Nelson, M.R.; Engler, R.J.M.; James, J.A. Protective Antigen-Specific Memory B Cells Persist Years after Anthrax Vaccination and Correlate with Humoral Immunity. Toxins 2014, 6, 2424-2431.

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