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Microbiol Immunol. 2011 Aug;55(8):574-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2011.00352.x.

Th17 cells contribute to nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae-specific protective immunity induced by nasal vaccination with P6 outer membrane protein and α-galactosylceramide.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, 1-1 Idaigaoka, Hazama-cho, Yufu, Oita 879-5593, Japan.


Nasal vaccination is an effective therapeutic means of preventing upper respiratory infection. Recently, nasal vaccination with P6 outer membrane protein of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and alpha-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) was reported to induce NTHi-specific protective immunity. The present study investigated the role of the Th17 cells induced by nasal vaccination. Mice were immunized with P6 and α-GalCer, and their P6-specific immune responses were examined. Cytokine-producing cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, and expression of cytokines in P6-specific CD4+ T cells was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Bacterial challenges were performed with live NTHi. To examine the role of Th17 cells, bacterial clearance was also evaluated after interleukin (IL)-17 neutralization. P6-specific nasal wash immunoglobulin (Ig) A and serum IgG were increased after immunization with P6 and α-GalCer. Specific IgA-producing cells increased markedly in the nasal passages (NPs) of the immunized mice. In addition to P6-specific Th1 and Th2 cells, IL-17-producing Th17 cells were induced in the NPs and spleen. Bacterial clearance was enhanced by nasal vaccination. Interestingly, impaired NTHi clearance was shown after IL-17 neutralization. These findings suggest that nasal vaccination with P6 and α-GalCer is an effective regimen for the induction of NTHi-specific protective immunity in the upper respiratory tract. In addition to antigen-specific secretory-IgA, specific Th17 cells induced by nasal vaccination contribute to protection against NTHi.

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