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Immunol Cell Biol. 2000 Feb;78(1):28-30.

Therapeutic immunization against Helicobacter pylori infection in the absence of antibodies.

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School of Microbiology and Immunology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Helicobacter pylori is an important human pathogen. Prophylactic immunization with bacterial antigen plus an adjuvant protects mice against challenge with live H. pylori. Surprisingly, it was found that immunizations of mice already infected with Helicobacter also influenced bacterial colonization. This concept of therapeutic immunization is a novel phenomenon. Because H. pylori lives in the lumen of the stomach, it was initially hypothesized that the protective mechanism would involve induction of secretory IgA. However, work with knockout mice has demonstrated that prophylactic immunization is equally effective in mice deficient in IgA and even in microMT mice lacking B lymphocytes. Currently nothing is known about therapeutic vaccination and the effect of immunizing a host with an ongoing ineffective immune response. To address this, we infected B-cell deficient, microMT mice with H. pylori and therapeutically immunized them four times in 3 weeks with bacterial sonicate and cholera toxin adjuvant. These immunizations significantly reduced colonization by H. pylori. The antibody- negative status of the microMT mice was confirmed by ELISA. Thus, therapeutic immunization stimulates an immune response, which reduces H. pylori infection via a mechanism that is antibody independent. How this is achieved remains to be determined, but may well involve a novel immune mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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