Comparison of 13 acellular pertussis vaccines: Overview and serologic response

K. M. Edwards, B. D. Meade, M. D. Decker, G. F. Reed, M. B. Rennels, M. C. Steinhoff, E. L. Anderson, J. A. Englund, M. E. Pichichero, M. A. Deloria, A. Deforest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective. To compare the immunogenicity of a licensed conventional whole- cell (WCL) and 13 diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccines that differed in source, method of manufacture, and included antigens; all vaccines included diphtheria and tetanus toxoids. Methods. Healthy infants were enrolled through six university-based vaccine and treatment evaluation units and were randomized to receive one of the study vaccines at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. Sera were obtained before the first immunization and 1 month after the third immunization and were analyzed for antibody to pertussis toxin (PT), filamentous hemagglutinin, fimbriae, pertactin, and diphtheria and tetanus toxins. Chinese hamster ovary cell toxin neutralization assays were performed, and levels of agglutinating antibodies were determined. Results. Of 2342 infants enrolled, 1942 contributed usable preimmunization and postimmunization serum specimens. Each vaccine produced significant increases in antibodies directed against the included antigens; postimmunization antibody titers differed significantly among the DTaP vaccines. For each evaluated antigen, the majority of DTaP vaccines produced antibody responses that equaled or exceeded those produced by WCL. For some antigens (eg, PT), mean antibody levels by vaccine correlated poorly with the quantity of antigen included in each vaccine; for others (eg, fimbriae), there was a close correlation. Conclusion. Although serologic correlates of pertussis immunity are not defined, it is clear that DTaP vaccines can stimulate immune responses that exceed those of licensed whole-cell vaccine with respect to the measured antibodies. Particularly for PT, immunogenicity seems to depend on factors in addition to antigen concentration, possibly including antigen derivation and formulation. No DTaP was most or least immunogenic with respect to all included antigens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-557
Number of pages10
Issue number3 II SUPPL.
StatePublished - Sep 25 1995



  • acellular
  • antibody
  • diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis
  • pertussis
  • vaccine
  • whole-cell
  • whooping cough

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

Edwards, K. M., Meade, B. D., Decker, M. D., Reed, G. F., Rennels, M. B., Steinhoff, M. C., Anderson, E. L., Englund, J. A., Pichichero, M. E., Deloria, M. A., & Deforest, A. (1995). Comparison of 13 acellular pertussis vaccines: Overview and serologic response. Pediatrics, 96(3 II SUPPL.), 548-557.