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Infect Immun. 2002 Apr;70(4):1957-64.

Preexisting inflammation due to Mycobacterium bovis BCG infection differentially modulates T-cell priming against a replicating or nonreplicating immunogen.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular Immunology, Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Induction of T-cell memory by vaccination ensures long-term protection against pathogens. We determined whether on-going inflammatory responses during vaccination influenced T-cell priming. A preexposure of mice to Mycobacterium bovis BCG impaired their subsequent ability to prime T cells against Listeria monocytogenes. This was characterized by a decrease in L. monocytogenes-specific gamma interferon (IFN-gamma)-secreting CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. The intensity of T-cell priming towards L. monocytogenes depended on the extent of L. monocytogenes expansion, and a cessation of this expansion caused by M. bovis BCG-induced inflammation resulted in impairment in T-cell priming. A challenge of M. bovis BCG-infected mice with a higher L. monocytogenes dose increased L. monocytogenes survival and restored T-cell priming towards L. monocytogenes. Impairment in T-cell priming towards L. monocytogenes due to M. bovis BCG-induced inflammation resulted in a compromised protective efficacy in the long term after mice were rechallenged with L. monocytogenes. Preexisting inflammation selectively impaired T-cell priming for replicating immunogens as CD8(+) T-cell response to ovalbumin administered as an inert antigen (ovalbumin-archaeosomes) was enhanced by M. bovis BCG preimmunization, whereas priming towards ovalbumin administered as a live immunogen (L. monocytogenes-ovalbumin) was impaired. Thus, depending on the nature of the immunogen, the presence of prior inflammatory responses may either impede or boost vaccine efficacy.

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