Influence of asthma status on serotype-specific pneumococcal antibody levels

Ji A. Jung, Hirohito Kita, Ravneet Dhillon, Robert M. Jacobson, Moon H. Nahm, Miguel Park, Constantine Tsigrelis, Young J. Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Asthma has been reported to be associated with an increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Objective: We compared serotype-specific antibody responses with pneumococcal polysaccharide antigens of individuals with and without asthma. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted for 16  subjects with asthma and 14  subjects without asthma from the community of Rochester, MN. Asthma was determined by predetermined criteria based on comprehensive medical record reviews. Serotype-specific antibody to 23 pneumococcal polysaccharide antigens was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and seropositivity was considered ≥ 1.3 μg/mL. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-5 (IL-5) were measured from peripheral blood mononuclear cells cultured with house dust mites and staphylococcal enterotoxin B. Results: Of the 30  subjects, 16 (53%) were male, 21 (70%) were white, and the median age was 26  years. The median numbers of positive serotype-specific antibodies for asthmatics and nonasthmatics were 8.5 and 15.5, respectively (P  =  0.034). There was an inverse relationship between the ratio of log-transformed IL-5/IFN-γ and the number of positive serotype-specific antibodies (r  = -0.36; P  = 0.052). As potential covariates and confounders, a history of pneumococcal vaccination (P  = 0.84), having a high-risk condition for IPD (P  = 0.68), and taking asthma medications, including inhaled/systemic corticosteroids (P  = 0.79), were not associated with the number of positive serotype-specific antibodies. Conclusion: Asthmatics had significantly lower serotype-specific pneumococcal antibody levels than nonasthmatics. House dust mite-induced T-helper 2 (Th2) cytokine immune profile may be related to the association. This may account for an increased risk of IPD in asthmatics and deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalPostgraduate medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Humoral immunity
  • PPV23
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide antigens
  • Risk
  • Rochester Epidemiology Project
  • Serotype-specific pneumococcal antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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