ABSTRACT: Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV), a type-2 thymus-independent antigen, induces the activation of B cells by directly triggering their antigen receptors. Although this type of antigen generally does not undergo class switching from IgM to IgG, PPV has been known to induce IgG2 in vaccinated subjects, which suggests the possible involvement of certain innate immune lymphocytes supporting the activation of B cells and their class switching. In the present study, we addressed the possibility that natural killer (NK) T cells are involved in Ab production caused by PPV. We measured serum levels of IgG against pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides and the numbers of CD4(+), CD8(+) and CD4(-)CD8(-) double negative (DN) invariant NKT (iNKT) cells and CD3(+)CD56(+) NKT cells in the peripheral blood before and after PPV injection. IgG was increased after PPV injection, peaking at 4 weeks after injection in serotypes 6B, 19F and 23F and at 3 months in serotype 14. Low responders, whose serum concentrations of IgG peaked at less than double their original levels, constituted 16%, 13%, 13% and 16% of vaccinated subjects with regard to serotypes 6B, 14, 19F and 23F, respectively. A significant positive correlation was detected between an increase in DN iNKT cells and the elevation of anti-serotype 14 IgG; in serotype 19F, DN iNKT cells were more markedly increased in responders than in low responders. These results suggest that DN iNKT cells may be involved in IgG production caused by vaccination against pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides.
Vaccine 03/2012; 30(22):3304-10. · 3.77 Impact Factor