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Influence of age and carriage status on salivary IgA to Neisseria meningitidis

  • R. E. HORTON (a1) (a2), J. STUART (a3), H. CHRISTENSEN (a3), R. BORROW (a4), T. GUTHRIE (a1), V. DAVENPORT (a1), A. FINN (a5), The ALSPAC Study Team (a6), N. A. WILLIAMS (a1) and R. S. HEYDERMAN (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

Asymptomatic carriage of Neisseria meningitidis is common (5–35% of individuals) while the incidence of invasive meningococcal disease is fairly low (<1–5 per 100000 per annum in Europe). Naturally acquired protective immunity may account for this difference. In this study, we investigated the relationship between anti-meningococcal salivary IgA and age and carriage. We showed that salivary IgA to a range of meningococcal antigens increased successively with age with some specificity for commonly circulating serosubtypes. In a group of 258 students 37 (14%) of whom were carriers of N. meningitidis serogroup B, higher levels of specific IgA were associated with carriage. Stratified analysis revealed a positive relationship between smoking and specific anti-N. meningitidis IgA independent of current carriage, weighted odds ratio (OR) 4·1 (95% CI 1·1–18) and OR 3·8 (95% CI 0·96–16) for reference strains B:1:P1.14 and B:4:P1.5,4 respectively. These data implicate IgA as a factor in host defence from meningococcal invasion, although the precise mechanisms remain uncertain.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Department of Pathology and Microbiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol, BS8 1TD, UK. (Email: Rachel.Horton@bristol.ac.uk)
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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