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Immunology. 1999 Dec;98(4):639-45.

Immune responses and protection against vaginal infection after nasal or vaginal immunization with attenuated herpes simplex virus type-2.

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Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL, USA.


We compared nasal and vaginal immunizations using attenuated herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) for protection against vaginal infection with wild-type HSV-2. Mice were immunized once intranasally, intravaginally after progestin (DP) treatment, or intravaginally with scarification after oestradiol treatment. Compared with vaginal immunizations, nasal immunization did not increase immunoglobulin A (IgA) plasma cell numbers in the vagina or elicit a higher antiviral IgA titre in vaginal secretions. Both types of vaginal immunizations increased the number of immunoglobulin G (IgG) plasma cells in the vagina and the secretion/serum titre ratio of IgG antiviral antibody, indicating local production of virus-specific IgG in these groups. Cell-mediated immunity in the vagina, as indicated by memory T-cell secretion of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) in situ 20 hr after HSV-2 challenge, was essentially equivalent in the vaginally immunized groups but significantly lower in the nasal group, while lymphocyte recruitment to the vagina was similar in all three groups. All three immunizations protected all mice from neurological disease after challenge, but vaginal DP immunization induced the greatest immunity against reinfection of the vaginal epithelium.

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