To determine the influence of ageing per se as well as of priming histories on the antibody response to influenza vaccination, haemagglutination inhibition (HI), ELISA IgG, IgA, IgM and neutralizing antibody titres were studied in 43 healthy young subjects (mean age 23 years) and 55 healthy elderly people (mean age 79 years). The HI and ELISA IgG responses to the A/Guizhou/54/89 strain (H3N2) for which both the young and the elderly had similar priming histories were equal. By contrast, the HI and IgG responses to A/Taiwan/1/86 (H1N1), where the priming histories were different, were lower in the elderly (P < 0.05). Influenza-specific IgA responses in the elderly tended to be higher for all vaccine strains. Influenza-specific postvaccination IgM titres were similar or tended to be higher in the elderly. A subgroup of elderly subjects (18%) who did not express HI activity to the A/Taiwan/1/86 (H1N1) vaccine strain, reacted in the HI assay with the closely related A/Singapore/6/86 (H1N1) strain. These elderly people, however, produced IgG antibodies which neutralized A/Taiwan/1/86 virus in vitro. It is concluded that the elderly are capable of mounting antibody responses similar to those observed in the young. Moreover, the observed age-related differences in antibody responses to H1N1 strains are probably not due to ageing of the immune system itself, but are determined by differences in priming histories.
|Journal||Journal of medical virology|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|