Background: The new types of mRNA-containing lipid nanoparticle vaccines BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 and the adenovirus-based vaccine AZD1222 were developed against SARS-CoV-2 and code for its spike (S) protein. Several studies have investigated short-term antibody (Ab) responses after vaccination. Objective: However, the impact of these new vaccine formats with unclear effects on the long-term Ab response – including isotype, subclass, and their type of Fc glycosylation – is less explored. Methods: Here, we analyzed anti-S Ab responses in blood serum and the saliva of SARS-CoV-2 naïve and non-hospitalized pre-infected subjects upon two vaccinations with different mRNA- and adenovirus-based vaccine combinations up to day 270. Results: We show that the initially high mRNA vaccine-induced blood and salivary anti-S IgG levels, particularly IgG1, markedly decrease over time and approach the lower levels induced with the adenovirus-based vaccine. All three vaccines induced, contrary to the short-term anti-S IgG1 response with high sialylation and galactosylation levels, a long-term anti-S IgG1 response that was characterized by low sialylation and galactosylation with the latter being even below the corresponding total IgG1 galactosylation level. Instead, the mRNA, but not the adenovirus-based vaccines induced long-term IgG4 responses – the IgG subclass with inhibitory effector functions. Furthermore, salivary anti-S IgA levels were lower and decreased faster in naïve as compared to pre-infected vaccinees. Predictively, age correlated with lower long-term anti-S IgG titers for the mRNA vaccines. Furthermore, higher total IgG1 galactosylation, sialylation, and bisection levels correlated with higher long-term anti-S IgG1 sialylation, galactosylation, and bisection levels, respectively, for all vaccine combinations. Conclusion: In summary, the study suggests a comparable “adjuvant” potential of the newly developed vaccines on the anti-S IgG Fc glycosylation, as reflected in relatively low long-term anti-S IgG1 galactosylation levels generated by the long-lived plasma cell pool, whose induction might be driven by a recently described TH1-driven B cell response for all three vaccines. Instead, repeated immunization of naïve individuals with the mRNA vaccines increased the proportion of the IgG4 subclass over time which might influence the long-term Ab effector functions. Taken together, these data shed light on these novel vaccine formats and might have potential implications for their long-term efficacy.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
Coronavirus related work
- Research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19