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Vaccine. 2011 Jun 20;29(28):4584-92. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.04.051. Epub 2011 May 5.

Aerosol delivery of virus-like particles to the genital tract induces local and systemic antibody responses.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, United States.


The induction of mucosal immune responses in the genital tract may be important for increasing the effectiveness of vaccines for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In this study, we asked whether direct immunization of the mouse genital tract with a non-replicating virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine could induce local mucosal as well as systemic antibody responses. Using VLPs derived from two bacteriophages, Qβ and PP7, and from a mammalian virus that normally infects the genital tract, human papillomavirus (HPV), we show that intravaginal aerosol administration of VLPs can induce high titer IgG and IgA antibodies in the female genital tract as well as IgG in the sera. Using a mouse model for HPV infection, we show that intravaginal immunization with either HPV type 16 VLPs or with PP7 bacteriophage VLPs displaying a peptide derived from the HPV minor capsid protein L2 could protect mice from genital infection with an HPV16 pseudovirus. These results provide a general method for inducing genital mucosal and systemic antibody responses using VLP-based immunogens.

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