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Infect Immun. 1998 Feb;66(2):514-20.

Antibodies and antibody-secreting cells in the female genital tract after vaginal or intranasal immunization with cholera toxin B subunit or conjugates.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Göteborg University, Sweden.


We studied the antibody response including antibody-secreting cells (ASC) in the female genital tract of mice after mucosal immunizations with the recombinant B subunit of cholera toxin (rCTB) perorally, intraperitoneally, vaginally, and intranasally (i.n.). The strongest genital antibody responses as measured with a novel perfusion-extraction method were induced after vaginal and i.n. immunizations, and these routes also gave rise to specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG ASC in the genital mucosa. Specific ASC in the iliac lymph nodes, which drain the female genital tract, were seen only after vaginal immunization. Progesterone treatment increased the ASC response in the genital tissue after all mucosal immunizations but most markedly after vaginal immunization. We also tested rCTB as a carrier for human gamma globulin (HGG) and the effect of adding cholera toxin (CT) as an adjuvant for the induction of systemic and genital antibody responses to HGG after vaginal and i.n. immunizations. Vaginal immunizations with HGG conjugated to rCTB resulted in high levels of genital anti-HGG antibodies whether or not CT was added, while after i.n. immunization the strongest antibody response was seen with the conjugate together with CT. In summary, vaginal and i.n. immunization give rise to a specific mucosal immune response including ASC in the genital tissue, and vaginal immunization also elicits ASC in the iliac lymph nodes. We have also shown that rCTB can act as an efficient carrier for a conjugated antigen for induction of a specific antibody response in the genital tract of mice after vaginal or i.n. immunization.

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