Type Specific and Cross Reactive Antigens of Gram-Negative Bacilli in Protection against Infection
Relatively little is known about mechanisms of immunity to the enteric gram-negative bacilli in man. Antibody to capsular or K antigens or to O-specific antigens has been shown to exert protective activity in experimental animal infections (1–6), but evidence relating to human infections is lacking. Although it has been demonstrated that immunization with S. typhosa provides some protection against acquisition of typhoid fever, it is not yet clear which antigen is responsible for inducing protection (7–9). Other studies have suggested that O-specific antibody exerts little protective activity in man. Despite the fact that most humans possess “natural antibodies”, these do not appear to protect against gram-negative bacterial infections. Studies in patients with pyelonephritis have demonstrated that new infections develop and established infections progress despite the presence of high titers of O antibody (10, 11). Except for these observations, however, there have been no instances in which the effect of humoral antibody could be assessed in infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae. This has resulted from the nature of infections caused by gram-negative bacilli which makes such evaluations difficult. Gram-negative bacilli possess only limited capacity for invasion of the normal host and most such infections occur in patients with diminished defense mechanisms or when gram-negative bacilli are afforded direct access to sites of infection by bladder and intravenous catheters, etc. (12).
KeywordsAntibody Titer Protective Activity Typhoid Fever Passive Immunization Cross Reactive Antigen
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