Heterogeneity of the humoral immune response following Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases: an international journal on pathogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology, therapy, and prevention of infectious diseases, Vol. 29, No. 5, p.509-518. ISSN 0934-9723.
Expanding knowledge on the humoral immune response in Staphylococcus aureus-infected patients is a mandatory step in the development of vaccines and immunotherapies. Here, we present novel insights into the antibody responses following S. aureus bacteremia. Fifteen bacteremic patients were followed extensively from diagnosis onwards (median 29 days, range 9-74). S. aureus strains (median 3, range 1-6) and serial serum samples (median 16, range 6-27) were collected. Strains were genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and genes encoding 19 staphylococcal proteins were detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The levels of IgG, IgA, and IgM directed to these proteins were determined using bead-based flow cytometry. All strains isolated from individual patients were PFGE-identical. The genes encoding clumping factor (Clf) A, ClfB, and iron-responsive surface-determinant (Isd) A were detected in all isolates. Antigen-specific IgG levels increased more frequently than IgA or IgM levels. In individual patients, different proteins induced an immune response and the dynamics clearly differed. Anti-ClfB, anti-IsdH, and anti-fibronectin-binding protein A IgG levels increased in 7 of 13 adult patients (p < 0.05). The anti-IsdA IgG level increased in 12 patients (initial to peak level: 1.13-10.72 fold; p < 0.01). Peak level was reached 7-37 days after diagnosis. In a bacteremic 5-day-old newborn, antistaphylococcal IgG levels declined from diagnosis onwards. In conclusion, each bacteremic patient develops a unique immune response directed to different staphylococcal proteins. Therefore, vaccines should be based on multiple components. IsdA is immunogenic and, therefore, produced in nearly all bacteremic patients. This suggests that IsdA might be a useful component of a multivalent staphylococcal vaccine.