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Hepatology. 2005 Dec;42(6):1429-36.

Sustained E2 antibody response correlates with reduced peak viremia after hepatitis C virus infection in the chimpanzee.

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National Research Laboratory of DNA Medicine, Division of Molecular and Life Science, POSTECH Biotech Center, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea.


Immune correlates of protection against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are not well understood. Here we investigated 2 naive and 6 immunized chimpanzees before and after intravenous challenge, 12 weeks after the last immunization, with 100 50% chimpanzee infectious doses (CID(50)) of heterologous genotype 1b HCV. Vaccination with recombinant DNA and adenovirus vaccines expressing HCV core, E1E2, and NS3-5 genes induced long-term HCV-specific antibody and T-cell responses and reduced peak viral load about 100 times compared with controls (5.91 +/- 0.38 vs. 3.81 +/- 0.71 logs, respectively). There was a statistically significant inverse correlation between peak viral loads and envelope glycoprotein 2 (E2)-specific antibody responses at the time of challenge. Interestingly, one vaccinee that had sterilizing immunity against slightly heterologous virus generated the highest level of E2-specific total and neutralizing antibody responses as well as strong NS3/NS5-specific T-cell proliferative responses. The other four vaccinees with low levels of E2-specific antibody had about 44-fold reduced peak viral loads but eventually developed persistent infections. In conclusion, vaccine-induced E2-specific antibody plays an important role in prevention from nonhomologous virus infection and may provide new insight into the development of an effective HCV vaccine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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