Differences in the antibody response to a mucosal bacterial antigen between allergic and non-allergic subjects

Belinda Hales, L.J. Pearce, Merci Kusel, Patrick Holt, Peter Sly, Wayne Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: The immune response to bacterial antigens on mucosal surfaces may be modified in individuals allergic to aeroallergens due to a maturational or genetic difference or from the interaction between inhaled allergens and bacteria at the mucosa.Methods: Plasma from children and adults allergic (n = 97) and non-allergic (n = 54) to aeroallergens were initially tested for IgG1 (Th1) and IgG4 (Th2) reactivity to P6, a conserved outer membrane protein of Haemophilus influenzae. IgE binding was measured for some allergic donors. The development of the antibody responses to P6 was subsequently examined in the plasma from 35 children aged 1, 2 and 5 years taken from a prospective birth cohort.Results: IgG4 antibodies to P6 were more readily detected in allergic subjects than in non-allergic subjects (p <0.001), with a strong bias to the male gender. Some allergic subjects (35%) also had IgE antibody (1-10 ng/ml) that was not associated with IgG4 or gender. In the cohort study of infants, subjects who developed skin prick test positivity to mite allergens by 5 years of age had an 85% reduction in the IgG1 anti-P6 antibody at year 2 (p <0.05) and, unlike skin test negative infants, this group had IgG4 anti-P6 antibodies at 5 years of age.Conclusions: The antibodies of subjects allergic to a bacterial antigen included IgE and IgG4 (particularly for males) compared with the almost exclusive IgG1 response of non-allergic subjects. The IgG1 responses of 2-year-old children who became skin test positive was markedly reduced and P6-specific IgG4 became detectable at 5 years of age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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