Glycoconjugate vaccines have dramatically reduced the incidence of encapsulated bacterial diseases in toddlers under 2 years of age, but vaccine-induced antibody levels in this age group wane rapidly. We immunized adults and 12-month-old toddlers with heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to determine differences in B-cell and antibody responses. The adults and 12-month-old toddlers received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The toddlers received a second dose at 14 months of age. The frequencies of diphtheria toxoid and serotype 4, 14, and 23F polysaccharide-specific plasma cells and memory B cells were determined by enzyme-linked immunospot assay. The toddlers had no preexisting polysaccharide-specific memory B cells or serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody but had good diphtheria toxoid-specific memory responses. The frequencies of plasma cells and memory B cells increased by day 7 (P < 0.0001) in the adults and the toddlers following a single dose of conjugate, but the polysaccharide responses were significantly lower in the toddlers than in the adults (P = 0.009 to <0.001). IgM dominated the toddler antibody responses, and class switching to the IgG was serotype dependent. A second dose of vaccine enhanced the antibody and memory B-cell responses in the toddlers but not the ex vivo plasma cell responses. Two doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine are required in toddlers to generate memory B-cell frequencies and antibody class switching for each pneumococcal polysaccharide equivalent to that seen in adults.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Vaccine Immunol

Publication Date





182 - 193


Adult, Age Factors, Antibodies, Bacterial, B-Lymphocytes, Bacterial Capsules, Diphtheria Toxoid, Female, Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Humans, Immunoassay, Immunoglobulin G, Immunoglobulin M, Immunologic Memory, Infant, Male, Meningococcal Vaccines, Middle Aged, Pneumococcal Vaccines