eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2020   Volume No 39 – pages 171-182

Title: Pathogen-specific antibody profiles in patients with severe systemic infections

Authors: N Normann, G Tietz, A Kühn, C Fuchs, V Balau, K Schulz, J Kolata, T Schuerholz, A Petersmann, S Stentzel, L Steil, SO Kuhn, K Meissner, U Völker, M Nauck, I Steinmetz, D Raafat, M Gründling, BM Bröker

Address: University Medicine Greifswald, Institute of Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Department of Immunology, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Strasse DZ7, D-17475 Greifswald, Germany.

E-mail: broeker at

Abstract: Infections are often caused by pathobionts, endogenous bacteria that belong to the microbiota. Trauma and surgical intervention can allow bacteria to overcome host defences, ultimately leading to sepsis if left untreated. One of the main defence strategies of the immune system is the production of highly specific antibodies. In the present proof-of-concept study, plasma antibodies against 9 major pathogens were measured in sepsis patients, as an example of severe systemic infections. The binding of plasma antibodies to bacterial extracellular proteins was quantified using a semi-automated immunoblot assay. Comparison of the pathogen-specific antibody levels before and after infection showed an increase in plasma IgG in 20 out of 37 tested patients. This host-directed approach extended the results of pathogen-oriented microbiological and PCR diagnostics: a specific antibody response to additional bacteria was frequently observed, indicating unrecognised poly-microbial invasion. This might explain some cases of failed, seemingly targeted antibiotic treatment.

Key Words: Systemic infection, sepsis, pathogen-specific IgG, serology, antibody response.

Publication date: April 17th 2020

Article download: Pages 171-182 (PDF file)

Twitter Facebook Google LinkedIn Print