Research Article

Role of spleen in immune response to polyvalent pneumococcal vaccine.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 17 December 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1829
  1. F Di Padova,
  2. M Dürig,
  3. J Wadström,
  4. F Harder


    The immune response of lymphocytes to subcutaneously administered pneumococcal vaccine was studied in five patients without spleens and in five healthy subjects. Seven days after immunisation circulating B cells synthesising IgG antipneumococcal capsular polysaccharides (anti-PCP) appeared in both groups. Twenty one days after vaccination this B cell population had disappeared and a B cell subset which secreted IgM and IgG anti-PCP in the presence of pokeweed mitogen was detected in the normal but not in the splenectomised subjects. In the splenectomised group polyclonal IgM synthesis induced by pokeweed mitogen was defective. It was concluded that the early events of the immune response to PCP may be mediated by lymph nodes but that, later, the spleen acquires a central role in producing lymphocyte subsets capable of synthesising specific antibodies and that this might explain the increased sensitivity of splenectomised subjects to pneumococcal infection.