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Viral Immunol. 2001;14(1):31-47.

Protective efficacy of rotavirus 2/6-virus-like particles combined with CT-E29H, a detoxified cholera toxin adjuvant.

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  • 1Department of Viral Vaccine Research, Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines, Pearl River, New York, USA.


Identifying a safe and efficacious mucosal adjuvant is crucial for the development of subunit vaccines against rotavirus and other mucosal pathogens. Moreover, recognition of determinants of protective immunity to rotavirus infection is essential to the design of the means to prevent or control this viral gastrointestinal disease. We have studied the kinetics of systemic and mucosal antibody responses elicited upon mucosal immunization of mice with rotavirus recombinant virus-like particles (rVLPs) alone or combined with a detoxified version of cholera toxin, CT-E29H. CT-E29H has been shown to maintain the adjuvant effect of parental cholera holotoxin. Both inbred BALB/c and outbred CD-1 mice were immunized with rotavirus VP2/6-rVLPs (2/6-VLPs) combined with CT-E29H, orally or intranasally (i.n.), and the comparative efficacy of different formulations was then determined. Rotavirus-specific serum and fecal IgA, IgM, and IgG antibodies were determined by enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay (ELISA) weekly (or every other week) following vaccination. Animals then were challenged with a murine rotavirus strain, EDIM. The degree to which vaccinated animals were protected from the wild-type rotavirus challenge was reflected in the levels of viral antigen shed in stools (percent reduction in antigen shedding, PRAS). BALB/c mice immunized by either route produced rotavirus-specific serum IgA, IgM and IgG, as well as fecal IgA and IgG, but not IgM; however, the intranasal immunization induced stronger systemic IgG and IgM responses than did oral immunization. Similar levels of prechallenge rotavirus-specific fecal and serum IgA were detected in both the orally and the i.n. immunized groups. Two immunizations with 2-6VLPs and CT-E29H were sufficient to protect BALB/c mice, regardless of the route of administration. PRAS was 99.6, 98.8, and 98.8% for oral, i.n. and the oral + i.n. groups, respectively; in contrast vaccination with 2/6-VLPs alone was not protective (PRAS = 39%), indicating the critical role of CT-E29H in inducing protective levels of immune responses. Two of four outbred CD-1 mice that were immunized orally with 2/6-VLPs-CT-E29H showed no humoral responses (PRAS, 65%), but four of four i.n. immunized CD-1 mice displayed humoral responses (PRAS, 97.9%). Serum anti-VP6 and VP2 antibodies were detected in all immunoresponsive mice. The combined results in two strains of mice indicate that CTE29H is an effective mucosal adjuvant capable of inducing protective immune responses and suggest that intranasal administration is the preferred route of immunization.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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