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Enterotoxin-Specific Immunoglobulin E Responses in Humans after Infection or Vaccination with Diarrhea-Causing Enteropathogens

American Society for Microbiology
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Cholera toxin (CT)-specific antibody responses of the immunoglobulin E (IgE) isotype in the sera of adult patients suffering from infection with either Vibrio cholerae O1, V. cholerae O139, or enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) were analyzed and compared with those in the sera of volunteers immunized with a bivalent B subunit O1/O139 whole-cell cholera vaccine. A significant IgE response to CT was observed in 90% of the patients with V. cholerae O1 infection (18 of 20; P = <0.001) and 95% of the patients with V. cholerae O139 infection (19 of 20; P = <0.001). Similarly, the majority of the patients with ETEC diarrhea (83%; 13 of 15) showed a positive IgE response to CT. Eight of 10 North American volunteers (80%) orally challenged with V. cholerae O1 showed CT-specific IgE responses (P = 0.004). In contrast, Swedish volunteers immunized with the oral cholera vaccine showed no IgE responses to CT (P value not significant). During the study period, total IgE levels in the sera of the diarrheal patients, the North American volunteers, and the Swedish cholera vaccinees alike remained unchanged. However, the total IgE levels in the sera of patients and healthy Bangladeshi controls were on average 89-fold higher than those in the sera of the healthy Swedish volunteers and 34-fold higher than those in the sera of the North American volunteers.


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