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Mech Ageing Dev. 1997 Jun;96(1-3):157-69.

Influenza (H1N1)-ISCOMs enhance immune responses and protection in aged mice.

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Pasteur Merieux Connaught Canada, North York, Ontario, Canada.


Aging is associated with a decline in immune function and the elderly are therefore more susceptible to infectious disease and less responsive to vaccination. Influenza antigens complexed as immunostimulatory complexes (ISCOMs) generate more potent protective immune responses compared with non-adjuvanted flu antigens in young adult mice. We report on the protective efficacy of flu-ISCOMs compared with the current split flu vaccine in an aged mouse model. DBA/2 mice aged 2 or 18 months were immunized with flu vaccine, ISCOMs or live virus, prior to challenge with the homologous virus. In aged mice, flu-ISCOMs induced significantly higher serum hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) titers compared to vaccine, similar to the levels obtained in young adult mice that received the split vaccine. Flu-ISCOMs but not vaccine induced cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses in young and to a lesser degree in aged mice. In aged mice flu-ISCOMs significantly reduced illness and enhanced recovery from viral infection compared with vaccine. Our data suggests that flu-ISCOMs may offer an improved vaccine strategy for protection of elderly humans against the complications of influenza infection.

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