Suppressive effect of zinc on antibody response to cholera toxin in children given the killed, B subunit-whole cell, oral cholera vaccine

Firdausi Qadri, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad A. Wahed, Firoz Ahmed, Nurul A. Bhuiyan, A. S.M.Hamidur Rahman, John D. Clemens, Robert E. Black, M. John Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In a previous study, children aged 2-5 years old in Bangladesh were supplemented orally with a single dose of Vitamin A (200,000IU) and a placebo for zinc (zinc equivalent to 20mg of elemental zinc) everyday for 42 days (group A), zinc and a placebo for Vitamin A (group Z), zinc and Vitamin A (group AZ) or both placebos (group P). All children were orally immunised with two doses of the killed cholera vaccine containing whole cells and a recombinant B subunit of cholera toxin (CT). The number of children who responded with ≥4-fold vibriocidal antibody (a proxy indicator of protection against cholera) was significantly greater among the zinc-supplemented groups than among the non-zinc-supplemented groups, while Vitamin A supplementation did not appear to have any effect. The sera from these children were assayed for antibody to CT. Antibody to CT is known to exert a synergistic protective effect against cholera in animal studies, and offer significantly higher short-term protection against cholera and significant short-term protection against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli diarrhoea in humans on oral immunisation with the cholera vaccine. Children who received zinc had significantly reduced levels of serum antibodies to CT than children who received placebos only. Factorial analysis showed a trend for zinc showing a reduction in the number of children responding with CT-antibody, while Vitamin A did not appear to have any effect. Thus, zinc enhanced vibriocidal antibody response, but suppressed CT-antibody response, suggesting that zinc supplementation has different modulating effects on vibriocidal antibody response and CT-antibody response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-421
Number of pages6
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 2 2004


  • Antibody to cholera toxin
  • Cholera vaccine
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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