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Vaccine. 2002 Jun 7;20(19-20):2537-45.

Intranasal immunization with SIV virus-like particles (VLPs) elicits systemic and mucosal immunity.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


By using a baculovirus expression system, we have successfully produced simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-like particles (VLPs) with high levels of biologically active SIV envelope (Env) incorporated on their surfaces. To study whether SIV VLPs represent effective mucosal immunogens, we immunized groups of mice with VLPs alone or VLPs plus the mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin (CT) by the intranasal (i.n.) route. High levels of serum IgG antibody production were achieved in mice immunized intranasally with SIV VLPs, and the antibody response was found to be antigen dose-dependent. The IgG1 and IgG2a ratio indicates that immune responses induced by SIV VLPs are Th1 oriented. Mice immunized with VLPs plus CT were found to exhibit higher serum antibody responses than those immunized with VLPs alone (P<0.001). Furthermore, IgA antibody production was detected in both saliva and vaginal fluid from mice mucosally immunized with SIV VLPs. Higher levels of IgA were found in vaginal fluid than in saliva in animals immunized with SIV VLPs plus CT (P<0.05). Higher neutralizing activity to SIV 1A11 was also found in serum of animals immunized with SIV VLPs plus CT. Moreover, increased numbers of MHC I-restricted peptide-specific IFN-gamma and IL-4 producing T cells were detected in both splenocytes and lymph nodes by intranasal immunization of SIV VLP plus CT. These results suggest that VLPs are effective mucosal antigens that can induce both humoral and cellular immune responses at systemic and mucosal sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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