Humoral and mucosal antibody response to rsv structural proteins in rsv-infected adult hematopoietic cell transplant (Hct) recipients

Xunyan Ye, Obinna P. Iwuchukwu, Vasanthi Avadhanula, Letisha O. Aideyan, Trevor J. McBride, David M. Henke, Kirtida D. Patel, Felipe Andres Piedra, Laura S. Angelo, Dimpy P. Shah, Roy F. Chemaly, Pedro A. Piedra

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1 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of lower respiratory tract infection in infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised patients. RSV antibodies play a role in preventing reinfection and in clearance of RSV, but data regarding the levels of viral protein-specific antibodies elicited and their contribution to patient recovery from RSV-induced disease are limited. We prospectively enrolled a cohort of RSV-infected adult hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients (n = 40). Serum and nasal-wash samples were obtained at enrollment (acute samples) and convalescence (convalescent samples). We measured (1) humoral IgG and mucosal IgA binding antibody levels to multiple RSV proteins (F, G, N, P, and M2-1) by Western blot (WB); (2) neutralizing antibody (Nt Ab) titers by microneutralization assay; and (3) palivizumab-like antibody (PLA) concentrations by an ELISA-based competitive binding assay developed in the lab. Finally, we tested for correlations between protein-specific antibody levels and duration of viral shedding (normal: cleared in <14 days and delayed: cleared ≥14 days), as well as RSV/A and RSV/B subtypes. Convalescent sera from HCT recipients had significantly higher levels of anti-RSV antibodies to all 5 RSV structural proteins assayed (G, F, N, P, M2-1), higher Nt Abs to both RSV subtypes, and higher serum PLAs than at enrollment. Significantly higher levels of mucosal antibodies to 3 RSV structural proteins (G, N, and M2-1) were observed in the convalescent nasal wash versus acute nasal wash. Normal viral clearance group had significantly higher levels of serum IgG antibodies to F, N, and P viral proteins, higher Nt Ab to both RSV subtypes, and higher PLA, as well as higher levels of mucosal IgA antibodies to G and M2-1 viral proteins, and higher Nt Ab to both RSV subtypes compared to delayed viral clearance group. Normal RSV clearance was associated with higher IgG serum antibody levels to F and P viral proteins, and PLAs in convalescent serum (p < 0.05). Finally, overall antibody levels in RSV/A-and/B-infected HCT recipients were not significantly different. In summary, specific humoral and mucosal RSV antibodies are associated with viral clearance in HCT recipients naturally infected with RSV. In contrast to the humoral response, the F surface glycoprotein was not a major target of mucosal immunity. Our findings have implications for antigen selection in the development of RSV vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number991
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Hematopoietic cell transplant adults
  • Humoral antibody
  • Mucosal antibody
  • RSV
  • Respiratory syncytial virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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