Antibody binding and complement-mediated killing of invasive Haemophilus influenzae isolates from Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands


Haemophilus influenzae is a Gram-negative bacterium that can be classified into typeable (types a through f) and non-typeable (NTHi) groups. This opportunistic pathogen asymptomatically colonizes the mucosal epithelium of the upper respiratory tract, from where it spreads to other neighboring regions, potentially leading to disease. Infection with NTHi can cause otitis media, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, but is increasingly causing invasive disease including bacteremia and meningitis. Invasive NTHi strains are more resistant to complement-mediated killing. However, the mechanisms of complement resistance have never been studied in large numbers of invasive NTHi strains. In this study, we determined the relationship between binding of IgG or IgM and the bacterial survival in normal human serum for 267 invasive H. influenzae strains from Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, of which the majority were NTHi. NTHi bacteria opsonized with high levels of IgM had the lowest survival in human serum. IgM binding to the bacterial surface, but not IgG binding, was shown to be associated with complement-mediated killing of NTHi strains. We conclude that evasion of IgM binding by NTHi strains increases survival in blood, thereby potentially contributing to their ability to cause severe invasive diseases.

In Infection and Immunity
Elena Dudukina
Elena Dudukina

I am interested in women’s health, reproductive epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, causal inference, directed acyclic graphs, and R stats.