The IgG subclass specific immune response against pneumococcal type 3 polysaccharide antigen before and after immunisation in healthy children and children with recurrent bronchitis was studied. Recurrent bronchitis was defined as three or more episodes a year, during at least two consecutive years, of bronchopulmonary infection, productive cough with or without fever, and/or diffuse rales by physical examination. Twenty five patients and 15 healthy children were selected. The patient group had lower concentrations of IgG1 and IgG2 specific pneumococcal antibodies compared with healthy children, regardless of whether or not the total IgG2 concentration was low. The children with recurrent bronchitis showed a greater increase in IgG1 and IgG2 antibodies after immunisation than the controls. It is concluded that children with recurrent bronchitis show a decreased humoral immune response to pneumococcal type 3 polysaccharide antigen. This finding suggests that a defect in the humoral immune response against polysaccharide antigens is an important cause of recurrent bronchitis in childhood.
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