The surface M protein of group A streptococci (GAS) is one of the major virulence factors for this pathogen. Antibodies to the M protein can facilitate opsonophagocytosis by phagocytic cells present in human blood. We investigated whether pooled normal immunoglobulin G (IVIG) contains antibodies that can opsonize and enhance the phagocytosis of type M1 strains of GAS and whether the levels of these antibodies vary for different IVIG preparations. We focused on the presence of anti-M1 antibodies because the M1T1 serotype accounts for the majority of recent invasive GAS clinical isolates in our surveillance studies. The level of anti-M1 antibodies in three commercial MG preparations was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the opsonic activity of these antibodies was determined by neutrophil-mediated opsonophagocytosis of a representative MIT1 isolate. High levels of opsonic anti-M1 antibodies were found in all MG preparations tested, and there was a good correlation between ELISA titers and opsonophagocytic activity. However, there was no significant difference in the levels of opsonic anti-M1 antibodies among the various MG preparations or lots tested. Adsorption of IVIG with M1T1 bacteria removed the anti-M1 opsonic activity, while the level of anti-M3 opsonophagocytosis was unchanged. Plasma was obtained from seven patients with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome who received IVIG therapy, and the level of anti-M1 antibodies was assessed before and after IVIG administration. A significant increase in the level of type M1-specific antibodies was found in the plasma of all patients who received IVIG therapy (P < 0.006). The results reveal another potential mechanism by which IVIG can ameliorate severe invasive group A streptococcal infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases