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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Feb;30(2):671-7.

Effect of pre-existing cytotoxic T lymphocytes on therapeutic vaccines.

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Australian National Centre for International & Tropical Health & Nutrition, Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.


Therapeutic vaccines which aim to induce CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses will often be required to perform in the presence of pre-existing CTL which recognize epitopes within the vaccine. Here we explore the ability of a viral vaccine vector presenting several co-dominant CTL epitopes to prime CTL responses in animals that have a pre-existing CTL response to one of the epitopes in the vaccine. The vaccine was usually capable of inducing multiple new responses, suggesting that immunodomination effects of pre-existing CTL may generally be minimal following vaccination. However, when large numbers of pre-existing CTL were present, a novel type of immune modulation was observed whereby (1) the vaccine failed to prime efficiently new CTL responses that were restricted by the same MHC gene as the pre-existing responses, and (2) vaccine-induced CTL responses restricted by other MHC genes were enhanced. These results may have implications for therapeutic multi-epitope vaccines for diseases like HIV and melanoma, which aim to broaden CTL responses.

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