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Cell Immunol. 2001 Aug 1;211(2):143-53.

Heterosubtypic immunity against human influenza A viruses, including recently emerged avian H5 and H9 viruses, induced by FLU-ISCOM vaccine in mice requires both cytotoxic T-lymphocyte and macrophage function.

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Aventis Pasteur Canada Ltd., 1755 Steeles Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, M2R 3T4, Canada.


Induction of heterosubtypic immunity to influenza viral antigens is of paramount importance to the prevention of epidemics and potential pandemics. The 1997 incidence of avian influenza infections in humans in Hong Kong heightened the need for pandemic preparedness and a search for vaccines and vaccine delivery systems that can confer broad protection. In this report, we demonstrate that the delivery of H1N1 subtype influenza viral antigens as immunostimulating complexes (ISCOM) induces broad cross-protection in mice against challenge with various influenza virus subtypes, including the avian H9 and the H5 strains that were recently responsible for deaths in humans. The ISCOM delivery system induced high and long-lived serum antiviral antibodies and class I-restricted cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL). Studies with perforin, IFN-gamma, and mu-chain gene knock-out mice demonstrated that the heterosubtypic protection required cross-reactive, functional cytotoxic T cells and nonhemagglutination inhibiting serum antibodies. Interferon-gamma, a major player in viral clearance by nonlytic mechanisms, did not appear to play a role in heterosubtypic immunity. Nonformulated H1N1 influenza antigens failed to induce significant CTL or long-lasting antibody responses or to protect mice against challenge with heterosubtypic viruses. Furthermore, while influenza virus infection induced a dominant nucleoprotein (NP)-specific CTL response in H2 mice, the ISCOM delivery system induced a dominant hemagglutinin-specific CTL response. Moreover, non-neutralizing but cross-reactive antibodies played a role in reducing viral titers by macrophages. These results suggest that exogenous delivery of influenza antigens as ISCOM can influence their antigen processing and presentation, their ability to induce/recall CTL specificities, and their capacity to mediate broad cross-protection against influenza virus variants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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