Introduction Individuals receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine develop high levels of circulating neutralising antibodies. However, data about antibody responses in the cervix are limited.
Methods This study was designed to describe the course of IgA/IgG responses in cervical secretions and in serum after intramuscular administration of the HPV16/18 AS04-adjuvant vaccine. An enzyme linked immunosorbent assay for detection of IgA and IgG anti–HPVVLP was developed for this purpose.
Results Immunoglobulin G seroconversion after the second dose was observed in 100% of the participants and remained 1 month after the third dose. Regarding IgG reactivity in cervical secretions, conversion was observed in 85% of women after the final dose. Immunoglobulin A seroconversion was observed in 76.7% of women after the third dose. Lower levels of IgA were detected in the cervical mucus (28.3%) and decreased to 23.3% after the last dose. Comparing local and systemic IgG responses, positivity in both serum and cervical samples was observed in 85%, whereas in 15% only, the serum was IgG antibody positive. A weak agreement between local and systemic IgA responses was observed. Only 18.3% of participants were local and systemic IgA positive, 58.4% were positive only in serum, 5% were positive only in the cervix, and 18.3% were both local and systemic IgA antibody negative.
Conclusion After the third vaccination, there is a strong agreement between cervical and systemic IgG antibody responses and a weak agreement between cervical and systemic IgA antibody responses. The induction of IgA antibodies seems to be secondary to that of IgG antibodies in response to HPV intramuscular vaccination.
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