, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 927–934 | Cite as

Asthma and antibodies to pneumococcal virulence proteins

  • H. Zhao
  • J. A. Jung
  • D. E. Briles
  • H. Kita
  • C. Tsigrelis
  • Y. J. Juhn
Clinical and Epidemiological Study



We previously reported that asthmatics had lower anti-serotype-specific pneumococcal polysaccharide antibody levels than non-asthmatics, and the T-helper 2 (Th2) immune profile was associated with suboptimal pneumococcal polysaccharide antibody. Our objective was to determine the influence of asthma status on anti-pneumococcal protein antigen antibody levels.


We conducted a cross-sectional study, which enrolled 16 children and adults with asthma and 14 subjects without asthma. Asthma was ascertained by predetermined criteria. Serum IgG antibody levels to pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA), pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC), pneumococcal choline-binding protein A (PcpA), and pneumolysin (PLY) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). These antibody levels were compared between asthmatics and non-asthmatics. The Th2 immune profile was determined by IL-5 secretion from PBMCs cultured with house dust mite (HDM) and staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) at day 7. The correlation between the anti-pneumococcal antibody levels and the Th2-HDM and SEB-responsive immune profile was assessed.


Of the 30 subjects, 16 (53 %) were male and the median age was 26 years. There were no significant differences in anti-PspA, anti-PspC, anti-PcpA, and anti-PLY antibody levels between asthmatics and non-asthmatics. The Th2 immune profile was inversely correlated with the anti-PspC antibody levels (r = −0.53, p = 0.003). This correlation was significantly modified by asthma status (r = −0.74, p = 0.001 for asthmatics vs. r = −0.06, p = 0.83 for non-asthmatics). Other pneumococcal protein antibodies were not correlated with the Th2 immune profile.


No significant differences in the anti-pneumococcal protein antigen antibody levels between asthmatics and non-asthmatics were found. Asthma status is an important effect modifier determining the negative influence of the Th2 immune profile on anti-PspC antibody levels.


Asthma Atopy Risk Humoral immunity Pneumococcal virulence proteins 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. A. Jung
    • 1
  • D. E. Briles
    • 3
  • H. Kita
    • 1
    • 5
  • C. Tsigrelis
    • 4
  • Y. J. Juhn
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsShenzhen Maternity and Children Healthcare Hospital, Affiliated to Southern Medical UniversityShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of AlabamaBirminghamUSA
  4. 4.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineCooper Medical School of Rowan UniversityCamdenUSA
  5. 5.Division of Allergy and Department of MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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