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J Virol. 2000 Jul;74(13):5769-75.

In vivo induction of a high-avidity, high-frequency cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response is associated with antiviral protective immunity.

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Unité de Biologie des Régulations Immunitaires, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France, and Ingenasa, 28037 Madrid, Spain.


Many approaches are currently being developed to deliver exogenous antigen into the major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted antigen pathway, leading to in vivo priming of CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells. One attractive possibility consists of targeting the antigen to phagocytic or macropinocytic antigen-presenting cells. In this study, we demonstrate that strong CD8(+) class I-restricted cytotoxic responses are induced upon intraperitoneal immunization of mice with different peptides, characterized as CD8(+) T-cell epitopes, bound to 1-microm synthetic latex microspheres and injected in the absence of adjuvant. The cytotoxic response induced against a lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) peptide linked to these microspheres was compared to the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response obtained upon immunization with the nonreplicative porcine parvovirus-like particles (PPV:VLP) carrying the same peptide (PPV:VLP-LCMV) previously described (C. Sedlik, M. F. Saron, J. Sarraseca, I. Casal, and C. Leclerc, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:7503-7508, 1997). We show that the induction of specific CTL activity by peptides bound to microspheres requires CD4(+) T-cell help in contrast to the CTL response obtained with the peptide delivered by viral pseudoparticles. Furthermore, PPV:VLP are 100-fold more efficient than microspheres in generating a strong CTL response characterized by a high frequency of specific T cells of high avidity. Moreover, PPV:VLP-LCMV are able to protect mice against a lethal LCMV challenge whereas microspheres carrying the LCMV epitope fail to confer such protection. This study demonstrates the crucial involvement of the frequency and avidity of CTLs in conferring antiviral protective immunity and highlights the importance of considering these parameters when developing new vaccine strategies.

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