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J Virol. 2003 Oct;77(20):11220-31.

Long-term specific immune responses induced in humans by a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 lipopeptide vaccine: characterization of CD8+-T-cell epitopes recognized.

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  • 1Département d'Immunologie-Membre de l'IFR 116-INSERM U567, Institut Cochin, 75014 Paris, France.


We studied the effect of booster injections and the long-term immune response after injections of an anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) lipopeptide vaccine. This vaccine was injected alone or with QS21 adjuvant to 28 HIV-uninfected volunteers. One month later, after a fourth injection of the vaccine, B- and T-cell anti-HIV responses were detected in >85% of the vaccinated volunteers. One year after this injection, a long-term immune response was observed in >50% of the volunteers. At this point, a positive QS21 effect was observed only in the sustained B-cell and CD4(+)-T-cell responses. To better characterize the CD8(+)-T-cell response, we used a gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot method and a bank of 59 HIV-1 epitopes. For the six most common HLA molecules (HLA-A2, -A3, -A11, -A24, -B7 superfamily, and -B8), an average of 10 (range, 3 to 15) HIV-1 epitopes were tested. CD8(+)-T-cell responses were evaluated according to the HLA class I molecules of the volunteers. Each assessment was based on 18 HIV-1 epitopes in average. We showed that 31 HIV-1 epitopes elicited specific CD8(+)-T-cell responses after vaccination. The most frequently recognized peptides were Nef 68-76 (-B7), Nef 71-79 (-B7), Nef 84-92 (-A11), Nef 135-143 (-B7), Nef 136-145 (-A2), Nef 137-145 (-A2), Gag 259-267 (-B8), Gag 260-268 (-A2), Gag 267-274 (-A2), Gag 267-277 (-B7), and Gag 276-283 (A24). We found that CD8(+)-T-cell epitopes were induced at a higher number after a fourth injection (P < 0.05 compared to three injections), which indicates an increase in the breadth of HIV CD8(+)-T-cell epitope recognition after the boost.

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