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Vaccine. 2000 Sep 15;19(2-3):337-47.

An immunological profile of Balb/c mice protected from airborne challenge following vaccination with a live attenuated Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus vaccine.

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Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, CBD n Down, Salisbury SP4 0JQ, Porto, UK.


The live attenuated vaccine strain of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), TC-83, protects mice against challenge (subcutaneous and aerosol) with virulent VEEV but is not suitable for widescale human use. Elucidation of the immune response profile of protected mice should assist in the development of an improved vaccine. We determined the optimum dose of TC-83 required to consistently protect Balb/c mice from airborne challenge with the virulent Trinidad Donkey strain of VEEV and studied the development of humoral and cellular immune responses in protected mice between 6 h and 21 days post-vaccination. The most dramatic immune responses occurred in draining lymph nodes 24 h following vaccination with increased levels of activated B cells and T cells of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) subtypes. Activated monocyte/macrophages and natural killer cells were also seen between 6 h and 7 days post-vaccination. Serum contained detectable VEEV-specific IgG on day 5 post-vaccination with titres continuing to rise on days 7, 14 and 21. Isotypes of IgG measured on days 7 and 21 were predominantly of the IgG2a subclass, indicating that the immune response was Th1-mediated. Cytokine mRNA was quantified by RT-PCR and revealed production of the Th1 cytokine IFN-gamma and the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha, whereas the Th2 cytokine IL4 was not detected above control levels at any of the time points studied. This data describes key cellular immune responses at early times post-vaccination and is consistent with previous data demonstrating protection against aerosol challenge with VEEV in the absence of detectable levels of specific IgG or IgA antibody.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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