Correlation of maternal and fetal hepatitis B antibody titers following maternal vaccination in pregnancy

Charles J. Ingardia, Leah Kelley, Trudy Lerer, Joseph R. Wax, Joy D. Steinfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to compare the levels of hepatitis B antibody in maternal and cord blood following maternal vaccination in pregnancy and to determine the level of maternal hepatitis B surface antibody (HbsAb) associated with a seroprotective level in cord blood. Thirty-seven (37) healthy gravidas who were identified as seronegative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg) and antibody (HbsAb) on initial prenatal assessment and subsequently began a series of three vaccinations in the pregnancy with hepatitis B recombinant DNA vaccine (Engerix-B, SmithKline Beecham) were studied. These mothers represented the first group of gravidas delivering between 6/1/97 and 8/1/97 following the iniatiation of a new protocol of offering hepatitis B vaccination to all patients testing seronegative to HbsAg and HbsAb. All gravidas were given a dose of 20 μg into the deltoid muscle utilizing a 1 1/2 -inch needle at a schedule of 0, 1, and 6 months. At the time of delivery specimens were obtained for maternal serum levels and paired cord blood levels of HbsAb. Levels were determined utilizing a quantitative enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay (ELISA) analysis (AUSAB-EIA Abbott Lab; Abbott Park, IL). A serum titer of ≥10 mLU/mL was considered seroprotective. Maternal and cord blood groups identified by seroprotection status were then subdivided by number of maternal vaccines received. Data were compared using the Student's t-test and Chi-square or Fisher's exact test. Eighteen gravidas (49%) had seroprotective titers at the time of delivery. Of these, 16 (88%) had seroprotective cord blood levels. All maternal specimens with a HbsAb titer ≥35 mLU/mL were associated with cord blood tiers ≥10 mLU/mL. When maternal titers achieved seroprotective levels of HbsAb, there was no difference in the frequency of cord blood seroprotection comparing groups by number of maternal vaccine doses received. When maternal titers of HbsAb achieve seroprotective levels following vaccination, cord blood seroprotection was achieved in 88% of studied patients. Maternal HbsAb titers ≥35 mLU/mL were associated with cord blood seroprotective levels in all cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-132
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatitis B
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaccination


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