A comparison of the development of antibody responses to the polysaccharide antigen (Candida albicans mannan) in atopic and healthy infants and children


Dr M. Nermes, Department of Paediatrics, Turku University Hospital. FIN-20520 Turku, Finland.


Background Defeetive antibody response againsl bacterial polysaccharide antigens is known to be associated with recurrent pyogenic infectiotis. The role of childhood allergy as a risk factor for repeated infections with capsulated micro-organisms has been controversial.

Objective To compare the devetopment of polysaccharide specific antibody responses in atopic and healthy infants and children.

Methods The antibody responses against a common polysaccharide antigen, Candida albicans mannan, were studied longitudinally in 18 atopic and 19 non-atopic children over the first 5 years of life. Determinations of IgA, IgG and IgM antibodies were carried out by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and IgE antibodies by nitrocellulose-based radioallergosorbent test.

Results The polysaccharide specific antibody responses were similar in both groups, except that anti-mannan IgM levels were higher at 5 years in the atopic children (P<0.05. student's t-test).

Conclusion Atopic children are not more susceptible to bacterial infections on the basis of poorer ability to produce antibodies against polysaccharide antigens.