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Immunol Cell Biol. 2010 Feb;88(2):224-7. doi: 10.1038/icb.2009.85. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Murine immune responses to oral BCG immunization in the presence or absence of prior BCG sensitization.

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Centre for Innovation, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Oral delivery of live Mycobacterium bovis BCG in a lipid matrix invokes cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses in mice and consequent protection against pulmonary challenge with virulent mycobacteria. To investigate the influence of prior BCG sensitization on oral vaccine efficacy, we assessed CMI responses and BCG colonization of the alimentary tract lymphatics 5 months after oral vaccination, in both previously naive mice and in mice that had been sensitized to BCG by injection 6 months previously. CMI responses did not differ significantly between mice that received subcutaneous BCG followed by oral BCG and those that received either injected or oral BCG alone. In vivo BCG colonization was predominant in the mesenteric lymph nodes after oral vaccination; this colonizing ability was not influenced by prior BCG sensitization. From this murine model study, we conclude that although prior parenteral-route BCG sensitization does not detrimentally affect BCG colonization after oral vaccination, there is no significant immune-boosting effect of the oral vaccine either.

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