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Vaccine. 1994;12(3):267-74.

The pulmonary immune response of Balb/c mice vaccinated with the fusion protein of respiratory syncytial virus.

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Department of Immunology, Lederle-Praxis Biologicals, Inc., West Henrietta, New York 14586-9728.


We have investigated the efficacy of vaccination with the purified fusion (F) protein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) on aluminium hydroxide adjuvant in Balb/c mice. The purpose of the study was to define the role of the local pulmonary mononuclear cell (PMC) infiltrate in the clearance of virus from the lower respiratory tract. Balb/c mice immunized with F protein were able to inhibit the replication of virus in the lungs as early as 4 days after intranasal challenge. In contrast, unimmunized mice required 8 days. Examination of humoral immune mechanisms demonstrated that vaccination with the purified protein induced moderate titres of serum neutralizing antibody. In addition, immunization induced low to moderate levels of antigen-dependent killer cell activity. To examine the immunological events responsible for virus clearance in vivo, PMC infiltrates were isolated after virus challenge and tested directly for protective capacity. After virus challenge, the F protein-immune mice were able to recall the cytolytic cells to the pulmonary tissues. The results further suggested that the local antigen-dependent killer activity was mediated by cytolytic T cells of the CD8 phenotype. Adoptive transfer studies were also conducted to identify further the role the PMC infiltrate had in protective immunity. Adoptive transfer of F protein-educated PMC into naive syngeneic recipients suggested that the pulmonary infiltrates contained the cellular constituents necessary for protective immunity. Both humoral and cellular immune elements were present.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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