[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Children bear a large component of the global burden of cholera. Despite this, little is known about immune responses to cholera in children, especially those under 5 years of age. Cholera vaccine studies have demonstrated lower long-term protective efficacy in young children than in older children and adults. Memory B cell (MBC) responses may correlate with duration of protection following infection and vaccination. Here we report a comparison of immune responses in young children (3 to 5 years of age; n = 17), older children (6 to 17 years of age; n = 17), and adults (18 to 60 years of age; n = 68) hospitalized with cholera in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We found that young children had lower baseline vibriocidal antibody titers and higher fold increases in titer between day 2 and day 7 than adults. Young children had higher baseline IgG plasma antibody levels to Vibrio cholerae antigens, although the magnitudes of responses at days 7 and 30 were similar across age groups. As a surrogate marker for mucosal immune responses, we assessed day 7 antibody-secreting cell (ASC) responses. These were comparable across age groups, although there was a trend for older age groups to have higher levels of lipopolysaccharide-specific IgA ASC responses. All age groups developed comparable MBC responses to V. cholerae lipopolysaccharide and cholera toxin B subunit at day 30. These findings suggest that young children are able to mount robust vibriocidal, plasma antibody, ASC, and MBC responses against V. cholerae O1, suggesting that under an optimal vaccination strategy, young children could achieve protective efficacy comparable to that induced in adults.