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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 13;8(6):e65536. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065536. Print 2013.

Immunization of aged pigs with attenuated pseudorabies virus vaccine combined with CpG oligodeoxynucleotide restores defective Th1 immune responses.

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  • 1College of Life Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.



Attempts to immunize aged subjects often result in the failure to elicit a protective immune response. Murine model studies have shown that oligonucleotides containing CpG motifs (CpG ODN) can stimulate immune system in aged mice as effectively as in young mice. Since many physiological and pathophysiological data of pigs can be transferred to humans, research in pigs is important to confirm murine data. Here we investigated whether immunization of aged pig model with attenuated pseudorabies virus vaccine (PRV vaccine) formulated with CpG ODN could promote a successful development of immune responses that were comparable to those induced in young pigs in a similar manner.


Young and aged pigs were immunized IM with PRV vaccine alone, or in combination with CpG ODN respectively. At days 3, 7, 14 post immunization sera were assayed by ELISA for IgG titres, at day 7 for IgG1 and IgG2 subtypes titres. All blood samples collected in evacuated test tubes with K-EDTA at day 7 were analyzed for flow cytometer assay. Blood samples at day 7 collected in evacuated test tubes with heparin were analysed for antigen-specific cytokines production and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) proliferative responses.


CpG ODN could enhance Th1 responses (PRV-specific IgG2/IgG1 ratio, proliferative responses, Th1 cytokines production) when used as an adjuvant for the vaccination of aged pigs, which were correlated with enhanced CD4+ T cells percentage, decreased CD4+CD8+CD45RO+ T cells percentage and improved PRV-specific CD4+ T cells activation.


Our results demonstrate a utility for CpG ODN, as a safe vaccine adjuvant for promoting effective systemic immune responses in aged pig model. This agent could have important clinical uses in overcoming some of age-associated depressions in immune function that occur in response to vaccination.

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