The polysaccharide (PS) capsule of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a "simple" antigen, polyribosylribitolphosphate. Although similar carbohydrate antigens have been reported to elicit IgG antibodies relatively restricted to the IgG2 subclass in man, we report here that Hib PS elicits substantial quantities of both IgG1 and IgG2 serum antibodies in most individuals. Because the determination of IgG subclass distribution can be technically difficult, we used four different approaches to establish our finding. First, we used an IgG subclass-specific, antigen-specific "sandwich assay." Second, we measured IgG subclasses of purified antibodies to Hib PS. Third, we showed that significant amounts of IgG anti-PS can be absorbed with a monoclonal anti-IgG1 affinity column. Fourth, we showed that IgG1 and IgG2 fractions of immune sera have clonally restricted anti-Hib PS antibodies that are easily distinguishable by their isoelectric points. The data indicate that both IgG1 and IgG2 contribute substantially to the IgG antibody response of most adults to immunization with Hib PS.

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