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J Immunol. 1997 Mar 1;158(5):2278-84.

Different T helper cell types and antibody isotypes generated by saline and gene gun DNA immunization.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655, USA.


Several routes and methods of DNA immunization have been shown to generate Ab, Th cells, and CTL responses. However, few studies have directly compared the immune responses generated by different routes and methods of DNA immunization. Utilizing an influenza hemagglutinin (H1)-expressing plasmid, we compared the immune response produced by saline injection of DNA into skin or muscle, and gene gun immunization of skin or muscle. We found that saline-DNA immunization raised a predominantly Th1 response with mostly IgG2a anti-H1 Ab, while gene gun DNA immunization produced a predominantly Th2 response with mostly IgG1 anti-H1 Abs. These distinct types of immune responses were generated by the method, not the route, of DNA immunization. The initial immunization established the Th cell-type of the immune response. The Th cell-type did not change with further DNA immunizations by the same or the alternate method, or after a viral challenge. The ability to generate different Th types was not due to differences in the doses of DNA used in saline and gene gun DNA immunization. These findings have important implications for vaccine design and studies of the mechanism of Th cell differentiation.

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