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Kinetics of serum antibodies in response to infection with Yersinia enterocolitica

  • I. Vaitkeviciute (a1), P.F.M. Teunis (a2), W. van Pelt (a3) and K.A. Krogfelt (a1)

Abstract

Information on the kinetics of the serum antibody response to infection with Yersinia enterocolitica is essential to allow the estimation and comparison of seroconversion rates in a diversity of pools of cross-sectional serum antibody measurements. Data from 94 patients with acute enteritis caused by Yersinia infection were used. The follow-up period for the longitudinal study was 36 months, addressed by questionnaire. An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method was adapted to determine the concentration of antibodies against Y. enterocolitica in human sera. A mathematical within-host model was used to describe the interaction between pathogen and immune system and the waning of immunity after clearing of the pathogen. All observed antibodies (IgG, IgM, IgA) reached peak levels shortly after infection and then decayed slowly indicating that the median levels decreased only little during the observation period. Estimated maximum peak antibody levels were highest in IgG. Seroresponse curves of all antibodies showed large individual variation between patients. There was no apparent pattern of variation with age, nor any notable difference between genders. Estimated half-times were very long for all antibodies, and their posterior distributions were highly skewed. IgA appeared to have the most persistent antibody response, compared with IgG and IgM. Median peak levels of all three antibodies were similar. There was no significance found between peak antibody levels and severity of symptoms of gastrointestinal infection and severity of joint pain. Our findings allow the use of cross-sectional serum antibody measurements as biomarkers, to estimate seroconversion rates. Such seroincidence estimates include asymptomatic seroconversions, thereby avoiding under-reporting, and allows the comparison of infection pressures among countries, independent of their healthcare and surveillance systems.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: P.F.M. Teunis, E-mail: peter.teunis@emory.edu

References

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