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Infect Immun. 2007 Jul;75(7):3658-64. Epub 2007 May 14.

Unique gene expression profiles in infants vaccinated with different strains of Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin.

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Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5164, USA.


Vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has variable efficacy in preventing tuberculosis. We hypothesized that some of this variation might be due to differences among BCG strains. To test this, neonates in Orizaba, Mexico, were vaccinated with one of three different BCG strains (BCG-Brazil [BBCG], BCG-Denmark [DBCG], or BCG-Japan [JBCG]). One year after vaccination, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were obtained and recall immune responses to culture filtrate proteins (CFP) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis were evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR. CFP-activated PBMC from BBCG- and DBCG-immunized children expressed high levels of cytokines characteristic of an adaptive immune response (gamma interferon, interleukin-2beta [IL-12beta], and IL-27), while those from children immunized with JBCG did not. In contrast, vaccination with JBCG resulted in significantly greater expression of cytokines characteristic of a proinflammatory immune response (IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-24) in PBMC activated with CFP compared to PBMC from children vaccinated with BBCG or DBCG. Thus, different strains of BCG can activate different immune pathways, which may affect long-term vaccine efficacy.

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