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Vaccine. 2009 Jan 14;27(3):378-87. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.10.089. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Leptospira immunoglobulin-like protein A variable region (LigAvar) incorporated in liposomes and PLGA microspheres produces a robust immune response correlating to protective immunity.

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Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Subunit vaccines are attractive as an intervention strategy against leptospirosis, an important zoonotic disease afflicting both humans and livestock. However, the success of subunit vaccines has been hampered by weak or short-term immunity and unavailability of nontoxic, potent adjuvants. In the present study, the variable region of recombinant Leptospira immunoglobulin like protein A (LigAvar) incorporated into conventional liposomes and PLGA microspheres produced robust immune responses that induced significant protection against virulent Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona challenge in hamsters. Four-week-old hamsters were immunized subcutaneously with LigAvar incorporated into conventional liposomes or adsorbed on aluminum hydroxide (alum) and subsequently boosted after 3 weeks. Additionally, LigAvar incorporated into PLGA microspheres was evaluated as a single dose vaccine. All animals were challenged intraperitoneally 3 weeks after booster with a lethal dose (10 x MLD50) of virulent L. interrogans serovar Pomona. Animals were bled at various time points to evaluate antibody response, then sacrificed. Splenocytes were isolated and assayed for lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine profiles in response to recall antigen. Our results indicate that both liposomes and microspheres prove to be better adjuvants compared to conventional alum as revealed by enhanced antibody titers, lymphocyte proliferation and significant enhancement in both Th1(IL-12, IFN-gamma) and Th2 (IL-4, IL-10) cytokines. Moreover, LigAvar associated with liposomes and microspheres is able to provide better protection than LigAvar with alum as revealed by enhanced survival and reduced histopathological lesions in vital organs. Taken together, the data of the present study suggests that both liposomes and PLGA microspheres are promising adjuvants for use with future subunit vaccines for prevention of leptospirosis.

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