Background: Sci-B-Vac T is a recombinant, hepatitis B vaccine derived from a mammalian cell line and containing hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) as well as preS1 and preS2 antigens. Few studies have been performed on the antibody responses to preS1 in relation to the antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) response during immunisation of healthy children with preS-containing vaccines. Results: In this study 28 healthy newborns were randomly selected to receive either 2.5 ug or 5.0 ug of the Sci-B-Vac vaccine. Children received three doses of vaccine according to a 0-, 1-, 6- month scheme. Antibodies against the S-protein and three synthetic peptides mimicking three B-cell preS1 epitopes, (21-32 amino acid epitope), (32-47 amino acid epitope) and the C-terminal (amino acid epitope 94-117) were determined at 6 and 9 months. Fourteen (50%) of the 28 newborns had detectable levels of anti-preS1 (21-32) antibodies; 15 ( 54%) were anti-preS1 (32-47) reactive and 12 (43%) were anti-preS1 (94-117) reactive at 6 or 9 months after initiation of the vaccination. Significantly higher levels of anti-HBs were observed in the sera of patients with detectable anti-preS1 (32-47) reactivity (24 550 +/- 7375 IU/L, mean +/- SEM) as compared with the non-reactive sera (5991 +/- 1530 IU/L, p < 0.05). The anti-HBs levels were significantly lower if none (p < 0.05) or one (p < 0.025) of the preS1 (21-32, 32-47, 94-117) peptides were recognised compared with the anti-HBs levels if two or three peptides were recognised. Conclusion: Recognition of several preS1 epitopes, and in particular, the epitope contained within the second half of the hepatocyte binding site localised in the hepatitis B surface protein of the third-generation hepatitis B vaccine is accompanied by a more pronounced antibody response to the S-gene-derived protein in healthy newborns.
2009. Vol. 6, 7- p.