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Scand J Immunol. 2005 Jul;62(1):36-44.

Whole influenza virus vaccine is more immunogenic than split influenza virus vaccine and induces primarily an IgG2a response in BALB/c mice.

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Influenza Centre, Section for Microbiology and Immunology, The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital, Norway.


The aim of this study was to compare the kinetics and the magnitude of the humoral immune response to two different influenza vaccine formulations, whole and split virus vaccines. BALB/c mice were immunized intramuscularly with one or two doses (3 weeks apart) of 7.5, 15 or 30 microg of haemagglutinin of monovalent A/Panama/2007/99 (H3N2) split or whole virus vaccine. The two vaccine formulations induced similar kinetics of the antibody-secreting cells response; however, differences in the magnitude were observed in the spleen and bone marrow. Vaccination with whole virus vaccine generally elicited a quicker and higher neutralizing antibody response, particularly after the first dose of vaccine. The two vaccine formulations gave different immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass profiles. Split virus vaccine stimulated both IgG1 and IgG2a antibodies suggestive of mixed T-helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 response, whereas whole virus vaccine induced mainly an IgG2a antibody response, which is indicative of a dominant Th1 response. The increased immunogenicity of whole virus vaccine in a naïve population could reduce the vaccine concentration needed to provide protective immunity.

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