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J Gen Virol. 2006 Jan;87(Pt 1):1-10.

Dendritic cells pulsed with hepatitis C virus NS3 protein induce immune responses and protection from infection with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing NS3.

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Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Erratum in

  • J Gen Virol. 2006 Jun;87(Pt 6):1761.


Infections with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) pose a serious health problem worldwide. In this study, the hypothesis that adoptive transfer of dendritic cells (DCs) pulsed with HCV NS3 protein and matured with an oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) containing CpG motifs (CpG) ex vivo would initiate potent HCV-specific protective immune responses in vivo was tested. NS3 protein was efficiently transduced into DCs and treatment of DCs with CpG ODN induced phenotypic maturation and specifically increased the expression of CD40. DCs matured with CpG ODN produced higher interleukin 12 levels and a stronger allogeneic T-cell response compared with untreated DCs. Notably, there were no differences between NS3-pulsed DCs and DCs pulsed with a control protein with respect to phenotype, cytokine production or mixed lymphocyte reaction, indicating that transduction with NS3 protein did not impair DC functions. Compared with the untreated NS3-pulsed DCs, the NS3-pulsed DCs matured with CpG ODN induced stronger cellular immune responses including enhanced cytotoxicity, higher interferon-gamma production and stronger lymphocyte proliferation. Upon challenge with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing NS3, all mice immunized with NS3-pulsed DCs showed a significant reduction in vaccinia virus titres when compared with mock-immunized mice. However, the NS3-pulsed DCs matured with CpG ODN induced higher levels of protection compared with the untreated NS3-pulsed DCs. These data are the first to show that NS3-pulsed DCs induce specific immune responses and provide protection from viral challenge, and also demonstrate that CpG ODNs, which have a proven safety profile, would be useful in the development of DC vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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