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J Virol. 1999 Jan;73(1):501-9.

In vivo modulation of vaccine-induced immune responses toward a Th1 phenotype increases potency and vaccine effectiveness in a herpes simplex virus type 2 mouse model.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Several vaccines have been investigated experimentally in the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) model system. While it is believed that CD4(+)-T-cell responses are important for protection in general, the correlates of protection from HSV-2 infection are still under investigation. Recently, the use of molecular adjuvants to drive vaccine responses induced by DNA vaccines has been reported in a number of experimental systems. We sought to take advantage of this immunization model to gain insight into the correlates of immune protection in the HSV-2 mouse model system and to further explore DNA vaccine technology. To investigate whether the Th1- or Th2-type immune responses are more important for protection from HSV-2 infection, we codelivered the DNA expression construct encoding the HSV-2 gD protein with the gene plasmids encoding the Th1-type (interleukin-2 [IL-2], IL-12, IL-15, and IL-18) and Th2-type (IL-4 and IL-10) cytokines in an effort to drive immunity induced by vaccination. We then analyzed the modulatory effects of the vaccine on the resulting immune phenotype and on the mortality and the morbidity of the immunized animals following a lethal challenge with HSV-2. We observed that Th1 cytokine gene coadministration not only enhanced the survival rate but also reduced the frequency and severity of herpetic lesions following intravaginal HSV challenge. On the other hand, coinjection with Th2 cytokine genes increased the rate of mortality and morbidity of the challenged mice. Moreover, of the Th1-type cytokine genes tested, IL-12 was a particularly potent adjuvant for the gD DNA vaccination.

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