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Vaccine. 2006 May 1;24(18):3953-63. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

An intranasal vaccine targeting both the Bacillus anthracis toxin and bacterium provides protection against aerosol spore challenge in rabbits.

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LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., 2155 Analysis Drive, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA.


An intranasal vaccine targeting the Bacillus anthracis toxin and vegetative bacterium was tested for the ability to protect immunized rabbits against aerosol B. anthracis spore exposure. Rabbits were vaccinated intranasally with PA-based vaccines formulated as dry powders with or without chitosan (ChiSys, Archimedes Development Limited), a compound that exhibits muco-adhesive properties, or as a liquid. Formulations also contained MPL adjuvant and PA. Some vaccines contained PA conjugated to a 10-mer peptide of the poly-d-glutamic acid capsule of B. anthracis. Rabbits were immunized on days 0 and 28 and aerosol challenged with an average 250LD50 Ames spores on day 85. Serum antibody was measured before and after challenge. Significant anti-PA serum IgG levels were obtained, particularly with use of ChiSys based formulations. PA-Conj induced significant anti-capsule responses, although a formulation containing free capsule peptide did not. All immunized rabbits survived the challenge, but differences in morbidity, as evidenced by anorexia, between vaccine groups were observed. Only rabbits immunized with PA+PA-Conj appeared normal throughout the post-challenge observation period (14 days), while all that received PA with the free capsule peptide appeared ill at times as evidenced by a failure to eat normally. One negative control rabbit received a lower inhaled spore dose (183LD50) and survived the challenge, although it was anorexic post-challenge. It also had a high level of anti-LF antibodies in its convalescent serum (5400 U/ml), indicating an extensive infection. In contrast, 75% of the immunized rabbits had no LF-specific antibody in their post-challenge sera, and the rest had low levels (< or = 138 U/ml), indicating that infections resulting in toxin production were avoided or greatly reduced. Thus, intranasal immunization with a chitosan-based powder vaccine combining PA and capsule epitopes provided superior protection against B. anthracis infection compared to a single antigen (PA) vaccine, as evidenced by a reduction in morbidity and prevention of death.

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