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Efficiency of placental transfer of vaccine-elicited antibodies relative to prenatal Tdap vaccination status

Post, AL;Li, SH;Berry, M;Itell, H;Martinez, DR;Xie, G;Permar, SR;Swamy, GK;Fouda, GG;

Administration of vaccines during pregnancy provides maternal protection against infectious diseases. This protection is extended to their infants during the first months of life, as pathogen-specific antibodies formed in response to maternal vaccination are transferred across the placenta to the fetus. Notably, Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccination booster is routinely administered to pregnant women both to prevent neonatal tetanus and to ensure that infants have protective levels of pertussis antibodies until they are able to establish their own vaccine-induced levels. Whether infant protection through maternal immunization is merely due to an increase in maternal antibody levels or whether maternal immunization enhances the transfer of vaccine-specific antibodies is unclear. Moreover, the potential impact of prenatal vaccinations on the transplacental transfer of other antibodies, such as antibodies raised as a result of infections or other vaccines administered prior to pregnancy, has not been studied. The goal of this study was to define the impact of maternal vaccination on IgG transplacental transfer efficiency. We analyzed antigen-specific antibody populations and IgG subclass distribution in maternal and cord blood samples from 58 mother-infant pairs. All women received the seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine during pregnancy and 25 women received the Tdap vaccine during the second or third trimester of gestation. Prenatal Tdap vaccination did not impact the efficiency of IgG transplacental transfer; however, it was associated with higher maternal and infant vaccine-elicited Tdap-specific antibody levels, and with a higher proportion of infants with protective levels of antibodies, especially against diphtheria. There was also no difference in the IgG transplacental transfer rate of antibodies against non-Tdap vaccines between the two groups of women. Our results confirm previous reports demonstrating the benefits of prenatal Tdap immunization and indicate that this strategy does not impede the transplacental transfer of other antibodies that are also important for infant protection. Copyright 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.