Antibody titers to varicella-zoster (VZ) virus in persons aged 1-85 years were measured. Through age 50, the percent of seropostitive individuals continued to rise. There was no fall in geometric mean titer with aging, and there may have been an increase in VZ antibody titer in older persons. Thus, a fall in VZ antibody with increasing age does not seem likely to account for the increased incidence of zoster in the elderly. Similarly, immunocompromised patients who are more likely to develop zoster than normals did not have lower VZ antibody titers than normal persons. Finally, immunocompromised persons with disseminated zoster had antibody titers that were somewhat higher that those of immunocompromised persons with localized zoster. It appears that humoral immunity has little or no influence on either the development or the course of herpes zoster.
Am. J. Med. Sci.
Antibody responses to varicella-zoster virus and the role of antibody in host defense.