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Gastroenterology. 1999 Mar;116(3):658-65.

Protective and therapeutic effect of DNA-based immunization against hepadnavirus large envelope protein.

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Unité de Recherche sur les Virus des Hépatites, les Rétrovirus Humains et les Pathologies Associées, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 271, Lyon, France.



Studies in the murine model suggest that injection of DNA encoding hepatitis B virus structural proteins is promising for the induction of a specific immune response. We used the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) model to study the protective and therapeutic effects of naked DNA immunization against hepadnaviral large envelope protein.


A pCI-preS/S plasmid expressing the DHBV large protein was used for intramuscular immunization of ducks. The humoral response was tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunoblotting, neutralization, and in vivo protection tests. For DNA therapy, DHBV-carrier ducks received four injections of this plasmid. Viremia was monitored for 10 months; thereafter, liver biopsies were performed.


Immunization with pCI-preS/S plasmid induced a specific, long-lasting, neutralizing, and highly protective anti-preS humoral response in uninfected animals. After pCI-preS/S treatment, a significant and sustained decrease in serum and liver DHBV DNA was observed for carrier ducks compared with the controls.


DNA immunization against DHBV large protein results in a potent and protective anti-preS response in the duck model. The results of long-term follow-up of DNA-treated chronically infected ducks are promising and show the usefulness of this model for the study of genetic immunization in chronic hepatitis B therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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