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Vaccine. 2006 Nov 17;24(47-48):6839-49. Epub 2006 Jul 5.

Single epitope mucosal vaccine delivered via immuno-stimulating complexes induces low level of immunity against simian-HIV.

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  • 1Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA 70433, USA.


The difficulty in developing an effective vaccine to contain the HIV/AIDS epidemic coupled with the fact that primary HIV-1 infection typically occurs via mucosal sites has increased emphasis on vaccine approaches that protect at mucosal surfaces. In this study we employed HIV and simian-HIV (SHIV)-derived T helper (Th) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) single epitopes incorporated into immuno-stimulating complexes (ISCOM) as a candidate immunogens. Immunized rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were challenged with CCR5-tropic SHIV(SF162p4). On the day of challenge, low levels of virus-neutralizing antibodies (Ab) and CTLs were detected in ISCOM-immunized macaques. Greater than 10(5) viral RNA copies per ml of plasma in 2/5 immunized and 3/4 control macaques were detected within 3 weeks post-challenge. Depletion of CD4+ T cells from gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) was observed by post-challenge day (PCD) 14 in all macaques regardless immunization. Nonetheless, lower viral loads and relatively better preservation of peripheral CD4+ T cells following the SHIV infection was observed in ISCOM-immunized macaques. We predict that if coadministered with additional epitopes and/or more efficacious mucosal delivery system or route, HIV/SIV-derived peptide vaccines may have potential to elicit heterologous protection.

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