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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1995 Mar;2(2):143-8.

Cell-mediated and humoral immune responses after vaccination of human volunteers with the live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis.

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Bacteriology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21702.


The specific humoral and cell-mediated immune responses of human volunteers vaccinated with the Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) were evaluated. In the search for an optimal antigen to measure the immunogenicity of the vaccine in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we tested irradiation-killed LVS, an aqueous ether extract of the LVS (EEx), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from LVS, and a virulent strain (SCHU4). Volunteers were immunized with LVS by scarification. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses to LVS and LPS gave the highest background titers when tested with sera from unimmunized volunteers, whereas IgA, IgG, and IgM background titers to EEx and SCHU4 were low. Vaccination caused a significant rise (P < 0.01) in IgA, IgG, and IgM titers to all antigens tested, except for the IgG response to LPS. Eighty percent of vaccinated volunteers developed a positive IgG response to EEx 14 days postvaccination, while 50% were positive to LVS. By day 14 after vaccination, 70% of immunized volunteers exhibited a positive response to EEx in an in vitro peripheral blood lymphocyte proliferation assay. EEx, a specific and sensitive antigen for evaluating immune responses of vaccinated volunteers, may be a superior antigen for the diagnosis of tularemia.

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