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J Immunol. 2005 Jun 15;174(12):7986-94.

Mechanisms of mucosal and parenteral tuberculosis vaccinations: adenoviral-based mucosal immunization preferentially elicits sustained accumulation of immune protective CD4 and CD8 T cells within the airway lumen.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases, Center for Gene Therapeutics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The mechanisms underlying better immune protection by mucosal vaccination have remained poorly understood. In our current study we have investigated the mechanisms by which respiratory virus-mediated mucosal vaccination provides remarkably better immune protection against pulmonary tuberculosis than parenteral vaccination. A recombinant adenovirus-based tuberculosis (TB) vaccine expressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ag85A (AdAg85A) was administered either intranasally (i.n.) or i.m. to mice, and Ag-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, including frequency, IFN-gamma production, and CTL, were examined in the spleen, lung interstitium, and airway lumen. Although i.m. immunization with AdAg85A led to activation of T cells, particularly CD8 T cells, in the spleen and, to a lesser extent, in the lung interstitium, it failed to elicit any T cell response in the airway lumen. In contrast, although i.n. immunization failed to effectively activate T cells in the spleen, it uniquely elicited higher numbers of Ag-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells in the airway lumen that were capable of IFN-gamma production and cytolytic activities, as assessed by an intratracheal in vivo CTL assay. These airway luminal T cells of i.n. immunized mice or splenic T cells of i.m. immunized mice, upon transfer locally to the lungs of naive SCID mice, conferred immune protection against M. tuberculosis challenge. Our study has demonstrated that the airway luminal T cell population plays an important role in immune protection against pulmonary TB, thus providing mechanistic insights into the superior immune protection conferred by respiratory mucosal TB vaccination.

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