Antibodies to meningococcal group A polysaccharide (MenA) in the sera of 34 vaccinated adults were quantitated by an isotype-resolving solid-phase RIA (IgA, IgM, IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4). All individuals had antibodies before vaccination. The geometric mean concentration was 2.9 micrograms/ml. Two weeks after vaccination the mean antibody concentration had trebled. Average proportions of the three isotypes were then as follows: IgA 15%, IgM 48%, IgG 37%. No differences were found between individuals who had been immunized with the polysaccharide 7 to 8 yr earlier and "primary responders." The subclass composition of IgG antibodies was determined in the 24 postvaccination samples with a definite IgG response (greater than 2-fold increase). IgG1 was the predominant subclass in antibodies of some sera and IgG2 in others, but the average proportions of both subclasses were nearly the same. IgG3 and IgG4 were only found in occasional sera, but when present, each subclass accounted for up to 6%. Although the ratio of kappa and lambda chains could not be determined, there was evidence to suggest that it was higher in anti-MenA antibodies than in antibodies to protein antigens.

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