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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54126. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054126. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Poly(I:C)/alum mixed adjuvant priming enhances HBV subunit vaccine-induced immunity in mice when combined with recombinant adenoviral-based HBV vaccine boosting.

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National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, People's Republic of China.



Virus-specific cellular immune responses play a critical role in virus clearance during acute or chronic HBV infection. Currently, the commercially available HBV vaccine is combined with alum adjuvant, which stimulates mainly Th2 immune responses. Therefore, development of new therapeutic HBV vaccine adjuvants and immune strategies that also promote Th1 and CTL responses is urgently needed.


To improve the immunity induced by the novel HBSS1 HBV vaccine, we evaluated the ability of adjuvants, including alum, CpG and polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], to enhance the response when boosted with the recombinant adenoviral vector vaccine rAdSS1. The immune responses to different adjuvant combinations were assessed in C57BL/6 mice by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), ELISpot and cytokine release assays. Among the combinations tested, a HBV protein particle vaccine with CpG/alum and poly(I:C)/alum priming combinations accelerated specific seroconversion and produced high antibody (anti-PreS1, anti-S antibody) titres with a Th1 bias. After boosting with recombinant adenoviral vector vaccine rAdSS1, both groups produced a strong multi-antigen (S and PreS1)-specific cellular immune response. HBSS1 immunisation with poly(I:C)/alum priming also generated high-level CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses in terms of Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-2).


The protein-vaccine HBSS1 with mixed poly(I:C)/alum adjuvant priming, followed by a rAdSS1 vaccine boost, maximises specific antibody and Th1-biased cellular immune responses. This regime might prove useful in the development of HBV therapeutic vaccines. Furthermore, this promising strategy might be applied to vaccines against other persistent infections, such as human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis.

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