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Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes due to invasive infection. This study investigated longitudinal variation in GBS rectovaginal colonization, serum and vaginal GBS capsular polysaccharide (CPS)-specific antibody levels. Non-pregnant women were recruited in the UK and were sampled every 2 weeks over a 12-week period. GBS isolates were taken from recto-vaginal swabs and serotyped by polymerase chain reaction. Serum and vaginal immunoglobulin G (IgG) and nasal immunoglobulin A (IgA) specific to CPS were measured by Luminex, and total IgG/A by ELISA. Seventy women were enrolled, of median age 26. Out of the 66 participants who completed at least three visits: 14/47 (29.8%) women that were GBS negative at screening became positive in follow-up visits and 16/19 (84.2%) women who were GBS positive at screening became negative. There was 50% probability of becoming negative 36 days after the first positive swab. The rate of detectable GBS carriage fluctuated over time, although serum, vaginal, and nasal CPS-specific antibody levels remained constant. Levels of CPS-specific antibodies were higher in the serum of individuals colonized with GBS than in non-colonized, but similar in the vaginal and nasal mucosa. We found correlations between antibody levels in serum and the vaginal and nasal mucosa. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of elution methods to retrieve vaginal and nasal antibodies, and the optimization of immunoassays to measure GBS-CPS-specific antibodies. The difference between the dynamics of colonization and antibody response is interesting and further investigation is required for vaccine development.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Exp Immunol

Publication Date





188 - 200


GBS vaccine, capsular-polysaccharides-specific antibodies, colonization, group B Streptococcus, mucosal immunity, neonatal infection, Adult, Antibodies, Bacterial, Female, Humans, Immunoglobulin A, Immunoglobulin G, Male, Polysaccharides, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Streptococcal Infections, Streptococcus agalactiae