Persistence of T-cell immune response induced by two acellular pertussis vaccines in children five years after primary vaccination

Raffaella Palazzo, Maria Carollo, Manuela Bianco, Giorgio Fedele, Ilaria Schiavoni, Elisabetta Pandolfi, Alberto Villani, Alberto E. Tozzi, Françoise Mascart, Clara M. Ausiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The resurgence of pertussis suggests the need for greater efforts to understand the long-lasting protective responses induced by vaccination. In this paper we dissect the persistence of T memory responses induced by primary vaccination with two different acellular pertussis (aP) vaccines, hexavalent Hexavac vaccine (Hexavac) (Sanofi Pasteur MSD) and Infanrix hexa (Infanrix) (Glaxo-SmithKline Biologicals). We evaluated magnitude and duration of T-cell responses to pertussis toxin (PT) by measuring T-cell proliferation, cytokines (IL-2 and IFNγ) production and memory subsets in two groups of children 5 years after primary vaccination. Some of the enrolled children received only primary vaccination, while others had the pre-school boost dose. Positive T-cell responses to PT were detected in 36% of children. Percentage of responsive children, T-cell proliferation and CD4IL-2+ cells were significantly higher in the children primed with Hexavac than in those who received Infanrix vaccine. No major effects of the boost on PT-specific proliferation were observed. Overall, our data documented a persistence of T-cell memory against PT in a minor fraction of children 5 years after primary vaccination. The different responses induced by Hexavac and Infanrix vaccine could rely on differences in PT inactivation process or excipients/adjuvants formulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalNew Microbiologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Acellular pertussis vaccine
  • Cytokines
  • Memory T-cell subsets
  • Pertussis resurgence
  • T-cell responses; Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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