Determination of Group A Streptococcal Anti–M Type–Specific Antibody in Sera of Rheumatic Fever Patients after 45 Years

James F. Bencivenga, Dwight R. Johnson, Edward L. Kaplan
2009 Clinical Infectious Diseases  
Group A streptococcal M type-specific protective antibodies-especially their persistence in humans-are incompletely understood. Such information is essential for understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of these infections and their sequelae and is equally crucial for producing a group A streptococcal vaccine. We studied 2 adults for type-specific antibody 45 years after they experienced documented rheumatic fever. Studies by Wannamaker and colleagues [1, 2] in the early 1950s
more » ... d the importance of M type-specific antibody in human resistance to infection with group A streptococci (GAS). On the basis of these and a few subsequent reports, efforts to develop GAS vaccines have largely been based on type-specific protective opsonic antibodies [3] . In 1959, Lancefield [4] described the persistence of type-specific opsonic antibodies in human sera for as long as 32 years. That report is a major basis for the belief that M protein-specific opsonic antibodies persist for extended periods of time, possibly even conferring lifelong type-specific immunity. To our knowledge, no additional information about the duration of type-specific immunity after natural human infection has since been published. Having identified two 56-year-old adults who had rheumatic fever at age 11 during a documented 1961 outbreak in Dickenson, North Dakota [5], we were able to examine their sera to investigate the persistence of M protein-specific opsonic antibody. The findings of the present study add to the sparse information about the duration of M type-specific immunity after natural
doi:10.1086/605673 pmid:19761409 fatcat:fs3kl6hjsrf55pszd6ko7vicge