BCG vaccine drives a strong T helper 1 cellular immunity which is essential for the protection against mycobacteria, however recent studies suggest that BCG vaccination can have non-specific beneficial effects unrelated to tuberculosis. In the present cohort study the development of cytokine profiles following BCG vaccination was investigated. Immune responses to PPD were assessed before vaccination and at ages of 5 months, 1 year, and 2 years, followed by BCG scar measurement at 4 years of age. BCG was shown to induce both Th1 and Th2 type responses against PPD at about 5 months of age after vaccination, and while Th1 response was sustained, Th2 responses declined over time. However, BCG scar size was strongly correlated with Th2 responses to PPD at 5 months of age. Importantly, we observed no clear effects of BCG vaccination on innate immune responses in terms of early IL-10 or TNF-α production whereas some alterations in general adaptive immune responses to PHA were observed.
Among the various parameters which may contribute to Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccination efficiency, the choice of the vaccine strain may play an important role. In the present study, we therefore compared the immunogenicity of five different BCG strains that are commonly used for BCG vaccine production (Glaxo 1077, Japanese 172, Pasteur 1173P2, Prague, and Russian strains). The comparison of the growth capacity of these BCG strains in BALB/c and C3H mice demonstrated that a great difference exists between the capacity of various BCG strains to multiply and persist in target organs. A much lower recovery of BCG could be shown in mice immunized with Prague and Japanese BCG strains. T-cell responses of BCG-immunized mice were also examined by analyzing T-cell proliferative responses, cytokine production, delayed-type hypersensitivity responses, and cytotoxic activity. All these assays demonstrated that BCG immunization induced strong CD4+ T-cell responses, mostly of the Th1 type, as demonstrated by interleukin-2 and gamma interferon production. These studies also demonstrated that there are differences between BCG strains in stimulating these T-cell responses. A lack of induction of cytotoxic activity was observed following immunization with the Japanese strain. Lower anti-purified protein derivative antibody responses were also observed after intravenous or oral immunization with this BCG strain. Finally, the protective activity of these BCG strains was tested by measuring the capacity of immunized mice to eliminate recombinant Pasteur and Japanese BCG strains which expressed beta-galactosidase. The results of these experiments clearly demonstrated that the Prague and Japanese strains were unable to protect mice against a second mycobacterial challenge whereas mice immunized with the Glaxo, Pasteur, or Russian strain eliminated the recombinant BCG very efficiently. Altogether, the results of the present study strongly support the view that there are considerable differences in the immunogenicity of various BCG vaccine strains and that these differences may play a major role in BCG vaccination efficiency.
There is a need for new vaccines for tuberculosis (TB) that protect against adult pulmonary disease in regions where BCG is not effective. However, BCG could remain integral to TB control programmes because neonatal BCG protects against disseminated forms of childhood TB and many new vaccines rely on BCG to prime immunity or are recombinant strains of BCG. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) is required for immunity to mycobacteria and used as a marker of immunity when new vaccines are tested. Although BCG is widely given to neonates IFN-γ responses to BCG in this age group are poorly described. Characterisation of IFN-γ responses to BCG is required for interpretation of vaccine immunogenicity study data where BCG is part of the vaccination strategy.
236 healthy Gambian babies were vaccinated with M. bovis BCG at birth. IFN-γ, interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13 responses to purified protein derivative (PPD), killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis (KMTB), M. tuberculosis short term culture filtrate (STCF) and M. bovis BCG antigen 85 complex (Ag85) were measured in a whole blood assay two months after vaccination. Cytokine responses varied up to 10 log-fold within this population. The majority of infants (89–98% depending on the antigen) made IFN-γ responses and there was significant correlation between IFN-γ responses to the different mycobacterial antigens (Spearman's coefficient ranged from 0.340 to 0.675, p = 10−6–10−22). IL-13 and IL-5 responses were generally low and there were more non-responders (33–75%) for these cytokines. Nonetheless, significant correlations were observed for IL-13 and IL-5 responses to different mycobacterial antigens
Cytokine responses to mycobacterial antigens in BCG-vaccinated infants are heterogeneous and there is significant inter-individual variation. Further studies in large populations of infants are required to identify the factors that determine variation in IFN-γ responses.
Vaccination of neonatal calves with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) induces a significant degree of protection against infection with virulent M. bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). We compared two strains of BCG, Pasteur and Danish, in order to confirm that the current European human vaccine strain (BCG Danish) induced protective immunity in calves, and we assessed immune responses to determine correlates of protection that could assist future vaccine evaluation in cattle. Both vaccine strains induced antigen (purified protein derivate [PPD])-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in whole-blood cultures. These responses were not significantly different for BCG Pasteur and BCG Danish and peaked at week 2 to 4 postvaccination. Vaccination with either BCG Danish or BCG Pasteur induced significant protection against bTB, with reductions in both lesion score and bacteriological burden evident in both groups of vaccinated calves compared with nonvaccinated control calves. Measurement of IFN-γ-expressing T lymphocytes postvaccination and postchallenge revealed both correlates and surrogates of protective efficacy. The frequency of central memory T lymphocytes present at 12 weeks postvaccination (at the time of M. bovis challenge) correlated significantly with protection. Conversely, the number of IFN-γ-expressing effector T cells present after M. bovis challenge was correlated with disease. These results demonstrate that vaccination of neonatal calves with either BCG Pasteur or BCG Danish induces protective immune responses against TB. In addition, we show that measurement of antigen-specific T lymphocyte populations may provide a reliable means for identifying protective vaccine candidates.
BCG vaccine is one of the most commonly-administered vaccines worldwide. Studies suggest the protective efficacy of BCG against TB is better for children than for adults. One potential explanation is that BCG induces a better protective immune response in children. Twenty six children and adults were immunised with BCG. The proportion of Th1-cytokine-producing mycobacterial-specific T cells, and the concentrations of secreted cytokines, were measured before and 10 weeks after BCG immunisation. A significant increase in the proportion of mycobacterial-specific cytokine-producing T cells was observed in both age groups. After BCG immunisation, children and adults had comparable proportions of mycobacterial-specific polyfunctional CD4 T cells when measured relative to the total number of CD4 T cells. However, relative to the subset of Th-1-cytokine-producing CD4 T cells, the proportion of polyfunctional cells was greater in children. Concentrations of secreted cytokines were comparable in children and adults. These findings suggest that the mycobacterial-specific cell-mediated immune response induced by BCG immunisation in children and adults is similar. The implication of a shift to a more polyfunctional immune response within the Th1-cytokine-producing CD4 T cells in children is uncertain as this aspect of the immune response has not been assessed as a potential correlate of protection against TB.
The activation of antigen-specific T lymphocytes is essential for the control of leprosy infection in humans and experimental animals. T cells recognize a variety of protein antigens from Mycobacterium leprae, including the 18-kDa protein, which is limited in distribution among mycobacteria and which is absent from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the vaccine strain, Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Adjuvant preparations of mycobacterial protein antigens have had limited protective efficacy for experimental infections in animals. Since recombinant vectors may elicit more effective T-cell responses than adjuvant preparations, recombinant vaccinia virus (VV18) and M. bovis BCG (BCG18) vectors expressing the 18-kDa protein of M. leprae were prepared. Both VV18 and BCG18 stimulated anti-18-kDa protein antibody and lymphocyte proliferative responses. Sequential immunization with VV18 followed by BCG18 induced higher levels of specific immunoglobulin G2a antibodies than immunoglobulin G1 antibodies, in contrast to immunization with VV18 or BCG18 alone. The protective efficacy of immunization with VV18 from a challenge with BCG18 was examined in two murine models of mycobacterial infection. After intravenous challenge, mice immunized with recombinant vaccinia virus exhibited lower initial levels of replication and earlier clearance of BCG18 from their spleens than mice immunized with vaccinia virus expressing an unrelated protein. After footpad infection in a dissemination model, there was earlier clearance of BCG18 from specifically immunized mice. However, immunization of mice with VV18 did not prevent a productive mycobacterial infection.
Oral polio vaccine (OPV) is recommended to be given at birth together with BCG vaccine. While we were conducting two trials including low-birth-weight (LBW) and normal-birth-weight (NBW) infants in Guinea-Bissau, OPV was not available during some periods and therefore some infants did not receive OPV at birth, but only BCG. We investigated the effect of OPV given simultaneously with BCG at birth on the immune response to BCG vaccine.
Methods and Findings
We compared the in vitro and the in vivo response to PPD in the infants who received OPV and BCG with that of infants who received BCG only. At age 6 weeks, the in vitro cytokine response to purified protein derivate (PPD) of M. Tuberculosis was reduced in LBW and NBW infants who had received OPV with BCG. In a pooled analysis receiving OPV with BCG at birth was associated with significantly lower IL-13 (p = 0.041) and IFN-γ (p = 0.004) and a tendency for lower IL-10 (p = 0.054) in response to PPD. Furthermore, OPV was associated with reduced in vivo response to PPD at age 2 months, the prevalence ratio (PR) of having a PPD reaction being 0.75 (0.58–0.98), p = 0.033, and with a tendency for reduced likelihood of having a BCG scar (0.95 (0.91–1.00), p = 0.057)). Among children with a scar, OPV was associated with reduced scar size, the regression coefficient being −0.24 (−0.43—0.05), p = 0.012.
This study is the first to address the consequences for the immune response to BCG of simultaneous administration with OPV. Worryingly, the results indicate that the common practice in low-income countries of administering OPV together with BCG at birth may down-regulate the response to BCG vaccine.
Effective prophylactic and/or therapeutic vaccination is a key strategy for controlling the global TB epidemic. The partial effectiveness of the existing TB vaccine, bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), suggests effective vaccination is possible and highlights the need for an improved vaccination strategy. Clinical trials are evaluating both modifications to the existing BCG immunization methods and also novel TB vaccines, designed to replace or boost BCG. Candidate vaccines in clinical development include live mycobacterial vaccines designed to replace BCG, subunit vaccines designed to boost BCG and therapeutic vaccines designed as an adjunct to chemotherapy. There is a great need for validated animal models, identification of immunological biomarkers of protection and field sites with the capacity for large-scale efficacy testing in order to develop and license a novel TB vaccine or regimen.
BCG; clinical trials; mycobacteria; prophylactic; subunit; therapeutic; tuberculosis; vaccine
The development of effective immunoprophylaxis against tuberculosis (TB) remains a global priority, but is hampered by a partially protective Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine and an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms of immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although host genetic factors may be a primary reason for BCG's variable and inadequate efficacy, this possibility has not been intensively examined. We hypothesized that Toll-like receptor (TLR) variation is associated with altered in vivo immune responses to BCG. We examined whether functionally defined TLR pathway polymorphisms were associated with T cell cytokine responses in whole blood stimulated ex vivo with BCG 10 weeks after newborn BCG vaccination of South African infants. In the primary analysis, polymorphism TLR6_C745T (P249S) was associated with increased BCG-induced IFN-γ in both discovery (n = 240) and validation (n = 240) cohorts. In secondary analyses of the combined cohort, TLR1_T1805G (I602S) and TLR6_G1083C (synonymous) were associated with increased IFN-γ, TLR6_G1083C and TLR6_C745T were associated with increased IL-2, and TLR1_A1188T was associated with increased IFN-γ and IL-2. For each of these polymorphisms, the hypo-responsive allele, as defined by innate immunity signaling assays, was associated with increased production of TH1-type T cell cytokines (IFN-γ or IL-2). After stimulation with TLR1/6 lipopeptide ligands, PBMCs from TLR1/6-deficient individuals (stratified by TLR1_T1805G and TLR6_C745T hyporesponsive genotypes) secreted lower amounts of IL-6 and IL-10 compared to those with responsive TLR1/6 genotypes. In contrast, no IL-12p70 was secreted by PBMCs or monocytes. These data support a mechanism where TLR1/6 polymorphisms modulate TH1 T-cell polarization through genetic regulation of monocyte IL-10 secretion in the absence of IL-12. These studies provide evidence that functionally defined innate immune gene variants are associated with the development of adaptive immune responses after in vivo vaccination against a bacterial pathogen in humans. These findings could potentially guide novel adjuvant vaccine strategies as well as have implications for IFN-γ-based diagnostic testing for TB.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading infectious causes of death worldwide. The current vaccine for TB, BCG, is widely used but it is not highly effective in preventing disease. We investigated the role of host genetics in the immune response to BCG vaccination. We found that variants of innate immunity genes (TLR1 and TLR6) were associated with BCG-induced immune responses after vaccination. These findings may guide new strategies for vaccine development as well as diagnosis of TB.
Adverse reactions induced by BCG vaccination are rare, disseminated mycobacterial BCG infection in particular, which is often fatal and results from impaired immunity. The aim of this study is to determine the nature of the immunodeficiences in patients with disseminated BCG infection in northwest region of Iran.
Materials and methods
Through 2 years all infants with BCG adenitis or other complications of this vaccine that had suspicious BCG infection were referred to children's hospital and health centers of Tabriz.
Evaluation of immune system and in some cases genetic survey was performed in infants with evidence of histopathologic demonstration of acid-fast bacilli. Then frequency of infants who had disseminated BCG infection with immunodeficiency was defined.
From 48 selected infants with complications of BCG vaccine in the range of 2 to 62 months, 28 infants (58.3%) were male and 20 infants (41.7%) were female. Disseminated BCG infection was diagnosed in 11 cases, almost all of whom had immunodeficiency as follows:
Seven cases had severe combined immunodeficiency and one cases had chronic granulomatous disease. MSMD in two cases and IL12 R deficiency in another one was diagnosed.
Overall, the mortality rate was 72.8% (8 cases) which 7 cases of them were SCID and another one CGD
Consanguineous was found in more than half (7 cases) of patients and family history of disseminated BCG infection or immunodeficiency was found in nearly one third (3 cases) of patients.
BCG vaccine is administered world wide to prevent tuberculosis and is considered to have excellent safety profile. However in some immunodeficient patients it can cause severe and fatal complications, like in our region, where all cases of disseminated BCG infection with severe immunodeficiency died.
BCG vaccination is necessary in some countries such as Iran, so it seems that development of a more safer vaccine and change of vaccine program in the families with history of inherited immunodeficiency can be identifies such high risk infants and prophylaxis of severe complications or dead in such patients.
Vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has variable efficacy in preventing tuberculosis. We hypothesized that some of this variation might be due to differences among BCG strains. To test this, neonates in Orizaba, Mexico, were vaccinated with one of three different BCG strains (BCG-Brazil [BBCG], BCG-Denmark [DBCG], or BCG-Japan [JBCG]). One year after vaccination, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were obtained and recall immune responses to culture filtrate proteins (CFP) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis were evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR. CFP-activated PBMC from BBCG- and DBCG-immunized children expressed high levels of cytokines characteristic of an adaptive immune response (gamma interferon, interleukin-2β [IL-12β], and IL-27), while those from children immunized with JBCG did not. In contrast, vaccination with JBCG resulted in significantly greater expression of cytokines characteristic of a proinflammatory immune response (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-24) in PBMC activated with CFP compared to PBMC from children vaccinated with BBCG or DBCG. Thus, different strains of BCG can activate different immune pathways, which may affect long-term vaccine efficacy.
Lactoferrin is an iron binding glycoprotein possessing multiple immune modulatory activities, including ability to affect macrophage cytokine production, mature T- and B- lymphocytes and immature dendritic cells, and enhance the ability of macrophages and dendritic cells to stimulate antigen-specific T-cells, and. These characteristics of lactoferrin suggested that it could function as an effective adjuvant enhance efficacy of the BCG, the current vaccine for tuberculosis disease. Admix of lactoferrin to the BCG vaccine promoted host protective responses that surpasses activity of the BCG vaccine alone as determined by decreasing pulmonary pathology upon challenge with virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). This study builds on previous reports by examining the effectiveness of the lactoferrin adjuvant comparing primary vaccination versus an immunization schedule with a booster administered at 8 weeks. BCG/lactoferrin vaccinating, given once or twice, demonstrated an improvement in pulmonary disease compared to both the BCG vaccinated and non-immunized groups. The splenic recall profiles showed a difference in cytokine production induced by mycobacterial antigen from splenocytes isolated from mice immunized with BCG/lactoferrin once or twice. Production of IL-17 is increased in the BCG/lactoferrin 2x group compared to the primary vaccinated group. Both BCG/lactoferrin vaccinated group exhibited increase production of IFN-γ compared to the non-immunized group and decreased production of IL-10 compared to the group vaccinated with only BCG. This study illustrates that the adjuvant activity of lactoferrin to enhance BCG efficacy occurs whether the vaccination regimen is a single delivery or combined with a booster, leading to enhanced host protection and decreased disease manifestation.
Lactoferrin; BCG; Vaccine; Adjuvant; Tuberculosis
Recent preclinical and epidemiologic studies have suggested that certain Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotypes (in particular, Beijing lineage strains) may be resistant to Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine-induced antituberculosis protective immunity. To investigate the strain specificity of BCG-induced protective responses in a murine model of pulmonary tuberculosis, C57BL/6 mice were vaccinated with BCG vaccine and then challenged 2 months later with one of nine M. tuberculosis isolates. Four of these strains were from the W-Beijing lineage (HN878, N4, NHN5, and ChS) while four were non-Beijing-type isolates (C913, CDC1551, NY669, and NY920). As a control, the WHO standard M. tuberculosis Erdman strain was evaluated in these vaccination/challenge experiments. To assess the protective responses evoked by BCG immunization, organ bacterial burdens and lung pathology were assessed in vaccinated and naïve mice at 4, 12, and 20 weeks postchallenge as well as during the day of infection. At 4 weeks after the aerosol challenge with each of these strains, significantly reduced bacterial growth in the lungs and spleens and significantly improved lung pathology were seen in all vaccinated animals compared to naïve controls. After 12 weeks, reduced organ bacterial burdens were detected in vaccinated animals infected with six of nine challenge strains. Although lung CFU values were lower in vaccinated mice for only three of nine groups at 20 weeks postchallenge, significantly decreased lung inflammation was seen in all immunized animals relative to controls at 20 weeks postchallenge. Taken together, these data demonstrate that BCG vaccination protects against infection with diverse M. tuberculosis strains in the mouse model of pulmonary tuberculosis and suggest that strain-specific resistance to BCG-induced protective immunity may be uncommon.
Although the effectiveness of BCG vaccination in preventing adult pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) has been highly variable, epidemiologic studies have suggested that BCG provides other general health benefits to vaccinees including reducing the impact of asthma, leprosy, and possibly malaria. To further evaluate whether BCG immunization protects against malarial parasitemia and to define molecular correlates of this non-specific immunity, mice were vaccinated with BCG and then challenged 2 months later with asexual blood stage Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL (PyNL) parasites. Following challenge with PyNL, significant decreases in parasitemia were observed in BCG vaccinated mice relative to naïve controls. To identify immune molecules that may be associated with the BCG-induced protection, gene expression was evaluated by RT-PCR in i) naïve controls, ii) BCG-vaccinated mice, iii) PyNL infected mice and iv) BCG vaccinated/PyNL infected mice at 0, 1, 5, and 9 days after the P. yoelii infection. The expression results showed that i) BCG immunization induces the expression of at least 18 genes including the anti-microbial molecules lactoferrin, eosinophil peroxidase, eosinophil major basic protein and the cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide (CRAMP); ii) an active PyNL infection suppresses the expression of important immune response molecules; and iii) the extent of PyNL-induced suppression of specific genes is reduced in BCG-vaccinated/PyNL infected mice. To validate the gene expression data, we demonstrated that pre-treatment of malaria parasites with lactoferrin or the cathelicidin LL-37 peptide decreases the level of PyNL parasitemias in mice. Overall, our study suggests that BCG vaccination induces the expression of non-specific immune molecules including antimicrobial peptides which may provide an overall benefit to vaccinees by limiting infections of unrelated pathogens such as Plasmodium parasites.
The protection, which some BCG vaccines could confer against the development of tuberculosis (TB) in childhood, might be indirectly reflected by the subsequent development of BCG immune response. The objectives of the study were to examine effectiveness and possible differences of post-vaccination reaction to a lyophilized BCG at different age groups and to evaluate its protection against TB in a decade's period.
We studied the post-vaccination PPD-skin reaction and scar formation at three different school levels, corresponding to ages of 6, 12 and 15 years old, vaccinated by a lyophilized BCG vaccine (Pasteur Institute), currently used in our country. During a 10-year follow up the reported TB cases in vaccinated and non-vaccinated adolescences up to 24-years old were analyzed and compared to the number of cumulative cases observed in the adult population of two neighboring territories (vaccinated and non-vaccinated).
Results and Discussion
There was a significant correlation (r2 = 0.87, p < 0.0001) between tuberculin induration and scar formation. There was no statistically significant difference between the three age groups (6, 12, and 15 year-old, respectively) in regard to the diameter of tuberculin induration or scar formation. Although 34% of 10-year later indurations were unpredictably related to the initial ones (increased or decreased), they were significantly correlated (r2 = 0.45, p = 0.009). The relative percentage of TB for the 14–24 years-age group to the adult studied population was significantly lower among the immunized children compared to the non-immunized population of the same age group (17/77, 22% vs. 71/101, 70%, p < .0001).
Our data suggest that the lyophilized BCG vaccine used for BCG programs at different age groups is equally effective and may confer satisfactory protection against tuberculosis in puberty.
Tuberculosis poses a great challenge, especially in children. The response of BCG Test may be different in previously vaccinated children and needs to be considered before interpreting positivity for TB. This study has been carried out to determine the pattern of BCG reaction comparing previously vaccinated with non-vaccinated children.
The study was conducted in the healthy school children aged 4–6 years. The BCG skin reaction in Mantoux-negative children was compared between children with and without previous BCG scar. After the Mantoux and BCG Test, the analysis of variance was done as per protocol.
Out of 50 children previously BCG vaccinated, 39(78%) showed exaggerated BCG test responses while out of another 50 children who were not vaccinated for TB, only 9(18%) showed exaggerated BCG Test response (p-value < 0.00001). Average induration obtained in children who were immunized with BCG at birth was much greater than those who were not immunized. 80% and 76% males and females respectively in Group I showed exaggerated BCG response while 16% and 20% males and females respectively of Group II showed exaggerated BCG response.
The present study indicates that normal healthy children may have a mild exaggerated BCG Test response i.e. induration up to 8 mm because of prior BCG vaccination. Therefore, BCG Test, though important should not be the only criteria for start of chemotherapy for TB in children as the side effects of drugs may cause much morbidity. An induration up to 8 mm after the BCG Test can be normal in Indian settings due to exposure to Mycobacterium in environment and/or BCG vaccine.
The hallmark of a vaccine is to induce long-term protective immunity against the pathogen. The use of Mycobacterium bovis BCG as a vaccine against tuberculosis has been problematic in that immunity induced by BCG wanes over time and it may be less effective against more virulent strains of M. tuberculosis. Thus it is important to determine what factors might be associated with waning or inefficient immunity. One such factor has been associated with the difference in many types of BCG that are used around the world, or more specifically due to the loss of genomic material in the various sub-strains used in vaccination programs. To address this issue we investigated the long-term immune response generated by 3 sub-strains BCG in the C57BL/6 mouse model of experimental tuberculosis. Mice vaccinated with these diverse strains of BCG were assessed at 6 and 12 months post-vaccination. All BCG sub-strain induced elevated levels of IFN-γ-producing cells at each time point as determined by ELISpot assay. However, when mice were challenged at 6 and 12 months with either M. tuberculosis H37Rv or HN878 the ability of the BCG sub-strains to protect vaccinated mice varied, depending on the time of challenge and on the strain used to infect mice. BCG Pasteur was then used to vaccinate guinea pigs, which were subsequently infected with either H37Rv or HN878. Data showed that BCG Pasteur prolonged the survival of guinea pigs against infection with both strains. Taken together these data suggest that longevity of the immune response generated by BCG is not related to the loss of genetic material and that BCG can induce a protective immune response to infection with a clinical strain of M. tuberculosis.
tuberculosis; BCG vaccine; immune response; animal models
Background. New vaccines against tuberculosis (TB) are urgently needed because the only available vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), fails to protect against pulmonary TB in adults. The recombinant ΔureC hly+ BCG (rBCG) is more efficient than parental BCG (pBCG) against pulmonary TB in preclinical studies and has proven safe and immunogenic in phase I clinical trials.
Methods. In an attempt to identify the mechanisms underlying the superior protection of rBCG, we compared the immune responses elicited after vaccination and subsequent aerosol infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in mice.
Results. We demonstrate that both rBCG and pBCG induce marked type 1 cytokine responses, whereas only rBCG elicits a profound type 17 cytokine response in addition. We observed earlier recruitment of antigen-specific T lymphocytes to the lung upon MTB infection of rBCG-vaccinated mice. These T cells produced abundant type 1 cytokines after restimulation, resulting in 10-fold reduced bacterial burden 90 days after infection.
Conclusions. Our findings identify a general immunologic pathway for improved vaccination strategies against TB that can also be harnessed by other vaccine candidates.
Although BCG vaccination is recommended in most countries of the world, little is known of the persistence of BCG-induced immune responses. As novel TB vaccines may be given to boost the immunity induced by neonatal BCG vaccination, evidence concerning the persistence of the BCG vaccine-induced response would help inform decisions about when such boosting would be most effective.
A randomised control study of UK adolescents was carried out to investigate persistence of BCG immune responses. Adolescents were tested for interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis purified protein derivative (M.tb PPD) in a whole blood assay before, 3 months, 12 months (n = 148) and 3 years (n = 19) after receiving teenage BCG vaccination or 14 years after receiving infant BCG vaccination (n = 16).
A gradual reduction in magnitude of response was evident from 3 months to 1 year and from 1 year to 3 years following teenage vaccination, but responses 3 years after vaccination were still on average 6 times higher than before vaccination among vaccinees. Some individuals (11/86; 13%) failed to make a detectable antigen-specific response three months after vaccination, or lost the response after 1 (11/86; 13%) or 3 (3/19; 16%) years. IFN-γ response to Ag85 was measured in a subgroup of adolescents and appeared to be better maintained with no decline from 3 to 12 months. A smaller group of adolescents were tested 14 years after receiving infant BCG vaccination and 13/16 (81%) made a detectable IFN-γ response to M.tb PPD 14 years after infant vaccination as compared to 6/16 (38%) matched unvaccinated controls (p = 0.012); teenagers vaccinated in infancy were 19 times more likely to make an IFN-γ response of > 500 pg/ml than unvaccinated teenagers.
BCG vaccination in infancy and adolescence induces immunological memory to mycobacterial antigens that is still present and measurable for at least 14 years in the majority of vaccinees, although the magnitude of the peripheral blood response wanes from 3 months to 12 months and from 12 months to 3 years post vaccination. The data presented here suggest that because of such waning in the response there may be scope for boosting anti-tuberculous immunity in BCG vaccinated children anytime from 3 months post-vaccination. This supports the prime boost strategies being employed for some new TB vaccines currently under development.
The World Health Organization recommends Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccination in areas of high tuberculosis prevalence. BCG's clinical and immune effects, not necessarily Mycobacterium tuberculosis specific, are unclear. BCG vaccine scarring often is used as a surrogate marker of vaccination or of effective vaccination. We evaluated BCG scarring status in relation to clinical findings and outcome in 700 hospitalized Malawians, of whom 32 had M. tuberculosis bloodstream infections (BSI) (10 of whom had cellular immune studies done) and of whom 48 were infants <6 months old and therefore recently vaccinated (19 of whom had immune studies). In the patients ≥6 months old, scarring was not related to the presence of pulmonary symptoms (35 versus 30%), chronic cough or fever, mortality, or M. tuberculosis BSI. In M. tuberculosis BSI patients, scarring was unrelated to mortality, vital signs, or clinical symptoms but those with scarring had higher proportions of memory and activated T cells and more type 2-skewed cytokine profiles. Infants with either BCG scarring (n = 10) or BCG lesional inflammation (n = 5) had no symptoms of sepsis, but 18 of 33 infants without BCG vaccination lesions did. Those with BCG lesions had localized infections more often than did those without BCG lesions. These infants also had lower median percentages of lymphocytes spontaneously making interleukin-4 (IL-4) or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and lower ratios of T cells spontaneously making IL-4 to T cells making IL-6. Thus, we found that, in older patients, BCG vaccine scarring was not associated with M. tuberculosis-specific or nonspecific clinical protection. Those with M. tuberculosis BSI and scarring had immune findings suggesting previous M. tuberculosis antigen exposure and induction of a type 2 cytokine pattern with acute reexposure. It is unlikely that this type 2 pattern would be protective against mycobacteria, which require a type 1 response for effective containment. In infants <6 months old, recent BCG vaccination was associated with a non-M. tuberculosis-specific, anti-inflammatory cytokine profile. That the vaccinated infants had a greater frequency of localized infections and lesser frequency of sepsis symptoms suggests that this postvaccination cytokine pattern may provide some non-M. tuberculosis-specific clinical benefits.
The tuberculin skin test (TST) is widely used in TB clinics to aid Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) diagnosis, but the definition and the significance of a positive test in very young children is still unclear. This study compared the TST in Gambian children at 4½ months of age who either received BCG vaccination at birth (Group 1) or were BCG naïve (Group 2) in order to examine the role of BCG vaccination and/or exposure to environmental mycobacteria in TST reactivity at this age. Nearly half of the BCG vaccinated children had a positive TST (≥5 mm) whereas all the BCG naïve children were non-reactive, confirming that recent BCG vaccination affects TST reactivity. The BCG naïve children demonstrated in vitro PPD responses in peripheral blood in the absence of TST reactivity, supporting exposure to and priming by environmental mycobacterial antigens. Group 2 were then vaccinated at 4½ months of age and a repeat TST was performed at 20–28 months of age. Positive reactivity (≥5 mm) was evident in 11.1% and 12.5% infants from Group 1 and Group 2 respectively suggesting that the timing of BCG vaccination had little effect by this age. We further assessed for immune correlates in peripheral blood at 4½ months of age. Mycobacterial specific IFNγ responses were greater in TST responders than in non-responders, although the size of induration did not correlate with IFNγ. However the IFNγ: IL-10 ratio positively correlated with TST induration suggesting that the relationship between PPD induced IFNγ and IL-10 in the peripheral blood may be important in controlling TST reactivity. Collectively these data provide further insights into how the TST is regulated in early life, and how a positive response might be interpreted.
The lack of an effective TB vaccine hinders current efforts in combating the TB pandemic. One theory as to why BCG is less protective in tropical countries is that exposure to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) reduces BCG efficacy. There are currently several new TB vaccines in clinical trials, and NTM exposure may also be relevant in this context. NTM exposure cannot be accurately evaluated in the absence of specific antigens; those which are known to be present in NTM and absent from M. tuberculosis and BCG. We therefore used a bioinformatic pipeline to define proteins which are present in common NTM and absent from the M. tuberculosis complex, using protein BLAST, TBLASTN and a short sequence protein BLAST to ensure the specificity of this process. We then assessed immune responses to these proteins, in healthy South Africans and in patients from the United Kingdom and United States with documented exposure to NTM. Low level responses were detected to a cluster of proteins from the mammalian cell entry family, and to a cluster of hypothetical proteins, using ex vivo ELISpot and a 6 day proliferation assay. These early findings may provide a basis for characterising exposure to NTM at a population level, which has applications in the field of TB vaccine design as well as in the development of diagnostic tests.
A lipid-based formulation has been developed for oral delivery of Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. The formulated M. bovis BCG was fed to BALB/c mice to test for immune responses and protection against M. bovis infection. The immune responses included antigen-specific cytokine responses, spleen cell proliferation, and lymphocyte-mediated macrophage inhibition of M. bovis. Oral delivery of formulated M. bovis BCG to mice induced strong splenic gamma interferon levels and macrophage inhibition of virulent M. bovis compared with results with nonformulated M. bovis BCG. Formulated oral M. bovis BCG significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the spleen and lungs of mice following aerosol challenge with virulent M. bovis. Our data suggest that oral delivery of formulated M. bovis BCG is an effective means of inducing protective immune responses against tuberculosis. Lipid-based, orally delivered mycobacterial vaccines may be a safe and practical method of controlling tuberculosis in humans and animals.
One strategy for improving anti-tuberculosis (TB) vaccination involves the use of recombinant Bacillus Calmette Guérin (rBCG) overexpressing protective TB antigens. rBCG30, overexpressing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis secreted antigen, Ag85b, was the first rBCG shown to induce significantly greater TB protection in animals than parental BCG.
We report the first phase I, double-blind trial of rBCG30 in 35 adults randomized to receive rBCG30 or parental Tice BCG intradermally. Clinical reactogenicity was assessed and state-of-the-art immunological assays used to study Ag85b-specific immune responses induced by both vaccines.
Similar clinical reactogenicity occurred with both vaccines. rBCG30 induced significantly increased Ag85b-specific T cell lymphoproliferation, IFN-γ secretion, IFN-γ ELISPOT responses, and direct ex vivo intracellular IFN-γ responses. Additional flow cytometric studies measuring CFSE dilution and intracellular cytokine production demonstrated that rBCG30 significantly enhanced Ag85b-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells capable of concurrent expansion and effector function. More importantly, rBCG30 significantly increased Ag85b-specific T cells capable of inhibiting intracellular mycobacteria.
These results provide proof-of-principal that rBCG can safely enhance human TB immunity, and support further development of rBCG overexpressing Ag85b for TB vaccination.
(3-10); TB Vaccination; recombinant BCG; T cell immunity
Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination is efficacious for newborns or adults with no previous exposure to environmental mycobacteria. To determine the relative contribution and the nature of γδ T-cell receptor-positive T cells in newborns, compared to CD4+ T cells, in immunity induced by M. bovis BCG vaccination, 4-week-old specific-pathogen-free pigs were vaccinated with M. bovis BCG and monitored by following the γδ T-cell immune responses. A flow cytometry-based proliferation assay and intracellular staining for gamma interferon (IFN-γ) were used to examine γδ T-cell responses. Pigs were found to mount Th1-like responses to M. bovis BCG vaccination as determined by immunoproliferation and IFN-γ production. The γδ T-cell lymphoproliferation and IFN-γ production to stimulation with mycobacterial antigens were significantly enhanced by M. bovis BCG vaccination. The relative number of proliferating γδ T cells after stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells with Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv culture filtrate protein was higher than that of CD4+ T cells at an early time point after M. bovis BCG vaccination, but CD4+ T cells were found to be more abundant at a later time point. Although the γδ T-cell responses were dependent on the presence of CD4+ T cells for the cytokine interleukin-2, the enhanced γδ T cells were due to the intrinsic changes of γδ T cells caused by M. bovis BCG vaccination rather than being due solely to help from CD4+ T cells. Our study shows that γδ T cells from pigs at early ages are functionally enhanced by M. bovis BCG vaccination and suggests an important role for this T-cell subset in acquired immunity conferred by M. bovis BCG vaccination.