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Mol Immunol. 1993 Aug;30(11):961-8.

Influence of the T-helper epitope on the titre and affinity of antibodies to B-cell epitopes after co-immunization.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, U.K.


We have assessed the influence of different T-helper cell epitopes on the level and affinity of antibody to B-cell epitopes induced following co-immunization with free peptides mimicking epitopes from measles and respiratory syncytial virus envelope proteins. The responses obtained following co-immunization have been compared to those obtained following immunization with chimeric synthetic peptide immunogens in which the epitopes were covalently coupled. The results show that covalent linkage of the B- and T-cell epitopes is not necessary for the generation of T-cell dependent antibody responses to non-immunogenic B-cell epitopes. In addition the induction of memory B-cells required adjuvant but subsequent stimulation of these memory cells did not. The responses obtained were non-MHC restricted since co-immunization resulted in the production of antibody responses to B-cell epitopes in a panel of five inbred mouse strains but there were differences in the ability of different T-cell epitopes to provide help for antibody production to the same B-cell epitope. The affinity of antibodies to the B-cell epitopes induced following immunization with chimeric T:B peptides was higher than that obtained following co-immunization. These results indicate the value of co-immunization for the induction of antibody responses to B-cell epitopes across MHC differences and suggest that this strategy may be of value in the development of synthetic peptide vaccines. However, modifications of the approach need to be developed to ensure the production of antibody of the highest possible affinity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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