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Immunology. 1999 Jul;97(3):515-21.

A recombinant BCG vaccine generates a Th1-like response and inhibits IgE synthesis in BALB/c mice.

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Joy McCann Culverhouse, Airway Disease Research Center, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, VA Hospital, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


The tubercle vaccine, bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is a strong inducer of T-helper type 1 (Th1) responsiveness, and it has been suggested that recombinant BCG (rBCG), which produces and secretes antigens, may be used to prevent allergic diseases. The effects of rBCG vaccination on allergic responses in a murine model were examined in this study. A BCG-Escherichia coli shuttle vector was developed with the promoter and signal sequence of the alpha-antigen of Mycobacterium bovis, and the vector was tested using E. coli beta-galactosidase as the model antigen and allergen. This vector enabled the expression of the E. coli beta-galactosidase gene in BCG, which was detected in its protein extract by immunoblotting analysis. Vaccination of mice with a single dose of 106 recombinant BCG generated a beta-galactosidase-specific antibody response. The splenocytes of vaccinated mice compared with controls produced significantly higher amounts of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) (P<0. 01) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) (P<0.05) and lower amounts of IL-5 (P<0. 01). Mice vaccinated with rBCG had significantly less (P<0.01) serum IgE compared with controls. These results together demonstrate that rBCG secreting antigens or allergens may be utilized for the induction of a Th1-like response and the down-regulation of IgE antibody response.

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