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1.  Paratuberculosis control: a review with a focus on vaccination 
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infection causes in ruminants a regional chronic enteritis that is increasingly being recognized as a significant problem affecting animal health, farming and the food industry due to the high prevalence of the disease and to recent research data strengthening the link between the pathogen and human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Control of the infection through hygiene-management measures and test and culling of positive animals has to date not produced the expected results and thus a new focus on vaccination against this pathogen is necessary. This review summarizes all vaccination studies of cattle, sheep or goats reporting production, epidemiological or pathogenetic effects of vaccination published before January 2010 and that provide data amenable to statistical analyses. The meta analysis run on the selected data, allowed us to conclude that most studies included in this review reported that vaccination against MAP is a valuable tool in reducing microbial contamination risks of this pathogen and reducing or delaying production losses and pathogenetic effects but also that it did not fully prevent infection. However, the majority of MAP vaccines were very similar and rudimentary and thus there is room for improvement in vaccine types and formulations.
PMCID: PMC3222599  PMID: 22035107
Mycobacteria; paratuberculosis; cattle; sheep; goats; vaccine; protection; production effects; epidemiological effects; pathogenetic effects
2.  Safety, immunogenicity and preliminary efficacy of multiple-site vaccination with an Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) based cancer vaccine in advanced non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients 
The prognosis of patients with advanced non small cell lung (NSCLC) cancer remains dismal. Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor is over-expressed in many epithelial derived tumors and its role in the development and progression of NSCLC is widely documented. CimaVax-EGF is a therapeutic cancer vaccine composed by human recombinant Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) conjugated to a carrier protein, P64K from Neisseria Meningitides. The vaccine is intended to induce antibodies against self EGF that would block EGF-EGFR interaction. CimaVax-EGF has been evaluated so far in more than 1000 advanced NSCLC patients, as second line therapy. Two separate studies were compared to assess the impact of high dose vaccination at multiple anatomic sites in terms of immunogenicity, safety and preliminary efficacy in stage IIIb/IV NSCLC patients. In both clinical trials, patients started vaccination 1 month after finishing first line chemotherapy. Vaccination at 4 sites with 2.4 mg of EGF (high dose) was very safe. The most frequent adverse events were grade 1 or 2 injection site reactions, fever, headache and vomiting. Patients had a trend toward higher antibody response. The percent of very good responders significantly augmented and there was a faster decrease of circulating EGF. All vaccinated patients and those classified as good responders immunized with high dose at 4 sites, had a large tendency to improved survival.
PMCID: PMC3215653  PMID: 22024351
3.  Immunization with genetically attenuated P52-deficient Plasmodium berghei sporozoites induces a long-lasting effector memory CD8+ T cell response in the liver 
The induction of sterile immunity and long lasting protection against malaria has been effectively achieved by immunization with sporozoites attenuated by gamma-irradiation or through deletion of genes. For mice immunized with radiation attenuated sporozoites (RAS) it has been shown that intrahepatic effector memory CD8+ T cells are critical for protection. Recent studies have shown that immunization with genetically attenuated parasites (GAP) in mice is also conferred by liver effector memory CD8+ T cells.
In this study we analysed effector memory cell responses after immunization of GAP that lack the P52 protein. We demonstrate that immunization with p52-GAP sporozoites also results in a strong increase of effector memory CD8+ T cells, even 6 months after immunization, whereas no specific CD4+ effector T cells response could be detected. In addition, we show that the increase of effector memory CD8+ T cells is specific for the liver and not for the spleen or lymph nodes.
These results indicate that immunization of mice with P. berghei p52-GAP results in immune responses that are comparable to those induced by RAS or GAP lacking expression of UIS3 or UIS4, with an important role implicated for intrahepatic effector memory CD8+ T cells. The knowledge of the mediators of protective immunity after immunization with different GAP is important for the further development of vaccines consisting of genetically attenuated sporozoites.
PMCID: PMC3206817  PMID: 22004696
4.  Formulation of a killed whole cell pneumococcus vaccine - effect of aluminum adjuvants on the antibody and IL-17 response 
Streptococcus pneumoniae causes widespread morbidity and mortality. Current vaccines contain free polysaccharides or protein-polysaccharide conjugates, and do not induce protection against serotypes that are not included in the vaccines. An affordable and broadly protective vaccine is very desirable. The goal of this study was to determine the optimal formulation of a killed whole cell pneumococcal vaccine with aluminum-containing adjuvants for intramuscular injection.
Four aluminium-containing adjuvants were prepared with different levels of surface phosphate groups resulting in different adsorptive capacities and affinities for the vaccine antigens. Mice were immunized three times and the antigen-specific antibody titers and IL-17 responses in blood were analyzed.
Although all adjuvants induced significantly higher antibody titers than antigen without adjuvant, the vaccine containing aluminum phosphate adjuvant (AP) produced the highest antibody response when low doses of antigen were used. Aluminum hydroxide adjuvant (AH) induced an equal or better antibody response at high doses compared with AP. Vaccines formulated with AH, but not with AP, induced an IL-17 response. The vaccine formulated with AH was stable and retained full immunogenicity when stored at 4°C for 4 months.
Antibodies are important for protection against systemic streptococcal disease and IL-17 is critical in the prevention of nasopharyngeal colonization by S. pneumoniae in the mouse model. The formulation of the whole killed bacterial cells with AH resulted in a stable vaccine that induced both antibodies and an IL-17 response. These experiments underscore the importance of formulation studies with aluminium containing adjuvants for the development of stable and effective vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3161839  PMID: 21801401
5.  Immunotherapeutic role of Ag85B as an adjunct to antituberculous chemotherapy 
Immunotherapy to enhance the efficiency of the immune response in tuberculosis patients and to eliminate the persisters could be an additional valuable strategy to complement anti-mycobacterial chemotherapy. This study was designed to assess the immunotherapeutic potential of Ag85B as an adjunct to chemotherapy and its effect against active and persister bacteria left after therapy in mouse model of tuberculosis.
6-8 week old female Balb/c mice were infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and treated with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Protective efficacy was measured in terms of bacterial counts in lungs and spleen. Immune correlates of protection in terms of Th1 and Th2 cytokines were measured by ELISA.
Therapeutic effect of Ag85B was found to be comparable to that of short term dosage of antituberculous drugs (ATDs). The therapeutic effect of ATDs was augmented by the simultaneous treatment with rAg85B and moreover therapy with this protein allowed us to reduce ATD dosage. This therapy was found to be effective even in case of drug persisters. The levels of antigen specific IFNγ and IL-12 were significantly increased after immunotherapy as compared to the basal levels; moreover antigen specific IL-4 levels were depressed on immunotherapy with Ag85B.
We demonstrated in this study that the new combination approach using immunotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy should offer several improvements over the existing regimens to treat tuberculosis. The therapeutic effect is associated not only with initiating a Th1 response but also with switching the insufficient Th2 immune status to the more protective Th1 response.
PMCID: PMC3142482  PMID: 21703025
6.  Phase IIb randomized trial of adjunct immunotherapy in patients with first-diagnosed tuberculosis, relapsed and multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB 
Placebo-controlled, randomized, phase 2b trial was conducted in 34 adults comprising 18 first-diagnosed (52.9%), 6 relapsed (17.6%), and 10 MDR-TB (29.4%) cases to investigate the safety and efficacy of an oral immune adjunct (V5). The immunotherapy (N = 24) and placebo (N = 10) arms received once-daily tablet of V5 or placebo for one month in addition to conventional anti-TB therapy (ATT) administered under directly observed therapy (DOT).
The enlarged liver, total bilirubin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, lymphocyte and leukocyte counts improved significantly in V5 recipients (P = 0.002; 0.03; 8.3E-007; 2.8E-005; and 0.002) but remained statistically unchanged in the placebo group (P = 0.68; 0.96; 0.61; 0.91; and 0.43 respectively). The changes in hemoglobin and ALT levels in both treatment arms were not significant. The body weight increased in all V5-treated patients by an average 3.5 ± 1.8 kg (P = 2.3E-009), while 6 out of 10 patients on placebo gained mean 0.9 ± 0.9 kg (P = 0.01). Mycobacterial clearance in sputum smears was observed in 78.3% and 0% of patients on V5 and placebo (P = 0.009). The conversion rate in V5-receiving subjects with MDR-TB (87.5%) seemed to be higher than in first-diagnosed TB (61.5%) but the difference was not significant (P = 0.62). Scoring of sputum bacillary load (range 3-0) at baseline and post-treatment revealed score reduction in 23 out of 24 (95.8%) V5 recipients (from mean/median 2.2/3 to 0.3/0; P = 6E-010) but only in 1 out of 10 (10%) patients on placebo (1.9/1.5 vs. 1.8/1; P = 0.34). No adverse effects or TB reactivation were seen at any time during follow-up. V5 is safe as an immune adjunct to chemotherapeutic management of TB and can shorten substantially the duration of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3031205  PMID: 21244690
7.  Prior exposure to an attenuated Listeria vaccine does not reduce immunogenicity: pre-clinical assessment of the efficacy of a Listeria vaccine in the induction of immune responses against HIV 
We have evaluated an attenuated Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) candidate vaccine vector in nonhuman primates using a delivery regimen relying solely on oral vaccination. We sought to determine the impact of prior Lm vector exposure on the development of new immune responses against HIV antigens.
Two groups of rhesus macaques one Lm naive, the other having documented prior Lm vector exposures, were evaluated in response to oral inoculations of the same vector expressing recombinant HIV-1 Gag protein. The efficacy of the Lm vector was determined by ELISA to assess the generation of anti-Listerial antibodies; cellular responses were measured by HIV-Gag specific ELISpot assay. Our results show that prior Lm exposures did not diminish the generation of de novo cellular responses against HIV, as compared to Listeria-naïve monkeys. Moreover, empty vector exposures did not elicit potent antibody responses, consistent with the intracellular nature of Lm.
The present study demonstrates in a pre-clinical vaccine model, that prior oral immunization with an empty Lm vector does not diminish immunogenicity to Lm-expressed HIV genes. This work underscores the need for the continued development of attenuated Lm as an orally deliverable vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3033796  PMID: 21244649
8.  Dendritic cell therapy for oncology roundtable conference 
2-3 September 2010, Brussels, Belgium
The Dendritic Cell Therapy for Oncology Roundtable Conference was organized by Reliable Cancer Therapies and moderated by Prof. Dr. Steven De Vleeschouwer. The organizer, Reliable Cancer Therapies, is a Swiss non-profit organization that provides information on evidence-based cancer treatments and funding for the development of a selection of promising cancer therapies. In order to be able to give valuable information about dendritic cell (DC) therapy to patients and physicians, the organizing committee felt it necessary to organize this conference to get an up-to-date status of the academic DC therapy field, collect ideas to guide patients towards clinical trials and to induce cross-fertilization for protocol optimization. In total, 31 experts participated to an in-depth discussion about the status and the future development path for dendritic cell vaccines. The conference started with general presentations about cancer immunotherapy, followed by comprehensive overview presentations about the progress in DC vaccine development achieved by each speaker. At the end of the meeting, a thorough general discussion focused on key questions about what is needed to improve DC vaccines. This report does not cover all presentations, but aims to highlight selected points of interest, particularly relating to possible limitations and potential approaches to improvement of DC therapies specifically, and also immunotherapeutic interventions in general terms.
PMCID: PMC3027086  PMID: 21226916
9.  Generation and characterization of high affinity human monoclonal antibodies that neutralize staphylococcal enterotoxin B 
Staphylococcal enterotoxins are considered potential biowarfare agents that can be spread through ingestion or inhalation. Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is a widely studied superantigen that can directly stimulate T-cells to release a massive amount of proinflammatory cytokines by bridging the MHC II molecules on an antigen presenting cell (APC) and the Vβ chains of the T-cell receptor (TCR). This potentially can lead to toxic, debilitating and lethal effects. Currently, there are no preventative measures for SEB exposure, only supportive therapies.
To develop a potential therapeutic candidate to combat SEB exposure, we have generated three human B-cell hybridomas that produce human monoclonal antibodies (HuMAbs) to SEB. These HuMAbs were screened for specificity, affinity and the ability to block SEB activity in vitro as well as its lethal effect in vivo.
The high-affinity HuMAbs, as determined by BiaCore analysis, were specific to SEB with minimal crossreactivity to related toxins by ELISA. In an immunoblotting experiment, our HuMAbs bound SEB mixed in a cell lysate and did not bind any of the lysate proteins. In an in vitro cell-based assay, these HuMAbs could inhibit SEB-induced secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines (INF-γ and TNF-α) by primary human lymphocytes with high potency. In an in vivo LPS-potentiated mouse model, our lead antibody, HuMAb-154, was capable of neutralizing up to 100 μg of SEB challenge equivalent to 500 times over the reported LD50 (0.2 μg) , protecting mice from death. Extended survival was also observed when HuMAb-154 was administered after SEB challenge.
We have generated high-affinity SEB-specific antibodies capable of neutralizing SEB in vitro as well as in vivo in a mouse model. Taken together, these results suggest that our antibodies hold the potential as passive immunotherapies for both prophylactic and therapeutic countermeasures of SEB exposure.
PMCID: PMC3022601  PMID: 21176153
10.  Ex vivo development, expansion and in vivo analysis of a novel lineage of dendritic cells from hematopoietic stem cells 
Dendritic cells (DCs) play a key role in innate and adaptive immunity but the access to sufficient amount of DCs for basic and translational research has been limited.
We established a novel ex vivo system to develop and expand DCs from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HPCs). Both human and mouse HPCs were expanded first in feeder culture supplemented with c-Kit ligand (KL, stem cell factor, steel factor or CD117 ligand), Flt3 ligand (fms-like tyrosine kinase 3, Flt3L, FL), thrombopoietin (TPO), IL-3, IL-6, and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and then in a second feeder culture ectopically expressing all above growth factors plus GM-CSF and IL-15.
In the dual culture system, CD34+ HPCs differentiated toward DC progenitors (DCPs), which expanded more than five orders of magnitude. The DCPs showed myeloid DC surface phenotype with up-regulation of transcription factors PU.1 and Id2, and DC-related factors homeostatic chemokine ligand 17 (CCL17) and beta-chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6). Multiplex ELISA array and cDNA microarray analyses revealed that the DCPs shared some features of IL-4 and IL-15 DCs but displayed a pronounced proinflammatory phenotype. DCP-derived DCs showed antigen-uptake and immune activation functions analogous to that of the peripheral blood-derived DCs. Furthermore, bone marrow HPC-derived DCP vaccines of tumor-bearing mice suppressed tumor growth in vivo.
This novel approach of generating DCP-DCs, which are different from known IL-4 and IL-15 DCs, overcomes both quantitative and qualitative limitations in obtaining functional autologous DCs from a small number of HPCs with great translational potential.
PMCID: PMC3004889  PMID: 21106069
11.  HIV-1 sub-type C chimaeric VLPs boost cellular immune responses in mice 
Several approaches have been explored to eradicate HIV; however, a multigene vaccine appears to be the best option, given their proven potential to elicit broad, effective responses in animal models. The Pr55Gag protein is an excellent vaccine candidate in its own right, given that it can assemble into large, enveloped, virus-like particles (VLPs) which are highly immunogenic, and can moreover be used as a scaffold for the presentation of other large non-structural HIV antigens. In this study, we evaluated the potential of two novel chimaeric HIV-1 Pr55Gag-based VLP constructs - C-terminal fusions with reverse transcriptase and a Tat::Nef fusion protein, designated GagRT and GagTN respectively - to enhance a cellular response in mice when used as boost components in two types of heterologous prime-boost vaccine strategies. A vaccine regimen consisting of a DNA prime and chimaeric HIV-1 VLP boosts in mice induced strong, broad cellular immune responses at an optimum dose of 100 ng VLPs. The enhanced cellular responses induced by the DNA prime-VLP boost were two- to three-fold greater than two DNA vaccinations. Moreover, a mixture of GagRT and GagTN VLPs also boosted antigen-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses, while VLP vaccinations only induced predominantly robust Gag CD4+ T-cell responses. The results demonstrate the promising potential of these chimaeric VLPs as vaccine candidates against HIV-1.
PMCID: PMC2996383  PMID: 21087527
12.  Antiviral activity of Engystol® and Gripp-Heel®: an in-vitro assessment 
Infections with respiratory viruses can activate the innate immune response - an important host defence mechanism in the early stage of viral infection. Interferon (IFN) release, triggered by virus infection, is an important factor in establishing an antiviral state, where IFN activation occurs prior to the onset of the adaptive immune response.
The two ultra-low-dose combination medications, Engystol® and Gripp-Heel®, have documented efficacy for the treatment of the respiratory infections. However, the underlying antiviral mechanisms remain elusive.
It was the goal to investigate whether Engystol® and Gripp-Heel® display antiviral activity in a prophylactic treatment protocol (2, 24 and 48 h pre-incubation) using a plaque reduction assay and whether the medications affect the release of type 1 IFN in virus-susceptible cell lines and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Both medications demonstrate prophylactic effect against viral respiratory virus replication. However, when the incubation was continued for up to 5 days, both medications exhibited a pronounced antiviral effect which was dependent on the pre-incubation time. Moreover, in co-stimulated HeLa cells as well as in activated PBMCs Gripp-Heel® and Engystol® demonstrated an increased type 1 IFN production.
Engystol® and Gripp-Heel® inhibited the replication of a variety of respiratory viruses. Additionally, we showed that pre-incubation affects the magnitude of the inhibitory effect differently for the various tested viruses. Both medications stimulate type 1 IFN release in different cell systems which suggests that their antiviral activity may be mediated possibly via modulation of the antiviral type 1 IFN host response.
PMCID: PMC2998502  PMID: 21080959
13.  Probing local innate immune responses after mucosal immunisation 
Intranasal immunisation is potentially a very effective route for inducing both mucosal and systemic immunity to an infectious agent.
Balb/c mice were intranasally immunised with the mucosal adjuvant heat labile toxin and the Mycobacterium tuberculosis fusion protein Ag85B-ESAT6 and early changes in innate immune responses within local mucosal tissues were examined using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses were also evaluated.
Intranasal immunisation induced significant changes in both number and distribution of dendritic cells, macrophages and neutrophils within the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue and cervical lymph nodes in comparison to controls as early as 5 h post immunisation. Immunisation also resulted in a rapid and transient increase in activation marker expression first in the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue, and then in the cervical lymph nodes. This heightened activation status was also apparent from the pro-inflammatory cytokine profiles of these innate populations. In addition we also showed increased expression and distribution of a number of different cell adhesion molecules early after intranasal immunisation within these lymphoid tissues. These observed early changes correlated with the induction of a TH1 type immune response.
These data provide insights into the complex nature of innate immune responses induced following intranasal immunisation within the upper respiratory tract, and may help clarify the concepts and provide the tools that are needed to exploit the full potential of mucosal vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2945349  PMID: 20836885
14.  PCEP enhances IgA mucosal immune responses in mice following different immunization routes with influenza virus antigens 
We previously demonstrated that polyphosphazenes, particularly PCEP, enhance immune responses in mice immunized subcutaneously and intranasally. The objective of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of polyphosphazenes as adjuvants when delivered through different routes of vaccine administration.
BALB/c mice were immunized through intranasal, subcutaneous, oral and intrarectal delivery with vaccine formulations containing either influenza X:31 antigen alone or formulated in PCEP. Serum and mucosal washes were collected and assayed for antigen-specific antibody responses by ELISA, while splenocytes were assayed for antigen-specific cytokine production by ELISPOT.
Intranasal immunization with PCEP+X:31 induced significantly higher IgA titers in all mucosal secretions (lung, nasal, and vaginal) compared to the other routes. Serum analysis showed that all mice given the PCEP+X:31 combination showed evidence of enhanced IgG2a titers in all administered routes, indicating that PCEP can be effective as an adjuvant in enhancing systemic immune responses when delivered via different routes of administration.
We conclude that PCEP is a potent and versatile mucosal adjuvant that can be administered in a variety of routes and effectively enhances systemic and local immune responses. Furthermore, intranasal immunization was found to be the best administration route for enhancing IgA titers, providing further evidence for the potential of PCEP as a mucosal adjuvant.
PMCID: PMC2936874  PMID: 20735838
15.  Assessment of immune response to repeat stimulation with BCG vaccine using in vitro PBMC model 
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most prevalent cause of death due to a single pathogen. Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) is the only vaccine available for clinical use that protects against miliary TB; however, this vaccine has shown variable levels of efficacy against pulmonary TB. In India, a single dose of BCG vaccine is given and there are few countries where repeated doses of BCG are given. The incidence of TB in India is very high inspite of primary vaccination in neonatal period and therefore requires consideration for repeated immunization.
To improve BCG immunogenicity, we have evaluated specific antimycobacterial immune responses (anti-BCG IgG and IFN-γ), T cell activity-ADA, CD4 and CD8 T cell count, and CD4/CD8 ratio in a peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) model using boost immunization protocols with the BCG vaccine. PBMC were induced with a repeat dose of BCG at 24 and 72 hrs of cell culture.
At the end of the experimental time, supernatant was collected to estimate anti-BCG IgG titer, interferon γ, ADA activity, CD 4 and CD8 T cell count, and CD4/CD8 ratio. We demonstrated that PBMC induced with a repeat dose of BCG showed an increased specific anti-mycobacterial immune responses, T cell activity, and ADA activity as compared to PBMC induced with BCG alone or without BCG induction.
The repeat BCG stimulation of PBMC obtained from BCG vaccinated individuals shows enhanced immune activation with respect to increased anti-BCG titre, IFN-γ and ADA activity without concomitant increase in CD4 and CD8 cells. This study provides some basic data in future experiments in animal models with respect to repeat BCG vaccination.
PMCID: PMC2890520  PMID: 20509931
16.  CpG oligodeoxyribonucleotides protect mice from Burkholderia pseudomallei but not Francisella tularensis Schu S4 aerosols 
Studies have shown that CpG oligodeoxyribonucleotides (ODN) protect mice from various bacterial pathogens, including Burkholderia pseudomallei and Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS), when administered before parenteral challenge. Given the potential to develop CpG ODN as a pre-treatment for multiple bacterial biological warfare agents, we examined survival, histopathology, and cytokine data from CpG ODN-treated C57BL/6 mice to determine whether previously-reported protection extended to aerosolized B. pseudomallei 1026b and highly virulent F. tularensis Schu S4 infections. We found that, although CpG ODN protected mice from aerosolized B. pseudomallei challenges, the immunostimulant failed to benefit the animals exposed to F. tularensis Schu S4 aerosols. Our results, which contrast with earlier F. tularensis LVS studies, highlight potential differences in Francisella species pathogenesis and underscore the need to evaluate immunotherapies against human pathogenic species.
PMCID: PMC2830940  PMID: 20181102
17.  CD40mAb adjuvant induces a rapid antibody response that may be beneficial in post-exposure prophylaxis 
Active vaccination can be effective as a post-exposure prophylaxis, but the rapidity of the immune response induced, relative to the incubation time of the pathogen, is critical. We show here that CD40mAb conjugated to antigen induces a more rapid specific antibody response than currently used immunological adjuvants, alum and monophosphoryl lipid A™.
PMCID: PMC2824643  PMID: 20205811
18.  HIV-1 neutralization by monoclonal antibody against conserved region 2 and patterns of epitope exposure on the surface of native viruses 
Conserved neutralizing epitopes are considered to be a key role for eliciting broadly neutralizing antibody (NAb). Previously, two conserved neutralizing epitopes of HIV-1 CRF01_AE envelope were identified at amino acid 93-112 of the C1 (C1E) and at 218-239 of the C2 (C2E) regions. To access the potency of antibody directed against conserved epitopes, a monoclonal antibody (MAb) specific to the C2E region was developed and characterized.
The immunogenicity of two epitopes was examined by immunizing BALB/c mice with the matching synthetic peptides. One MAb, C2EB5, directed against peptide C2E, was generated by conventional methods, while C1E1 and C1E2 peptides induced slight antibody response in mice. The neutralizing activity of MAb C2EB5 was examined using a peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) based method and various HIV-1 subtypes including A, B, C, D, and CRF01_AE; C2EB5 was compared with other known neutralizing MAbs (4E10, 447-52D) and with sCD4. The exposure of the C2 epitope on native virus was investigated using virus capture by these MAbs.
The MAb C2EB5 demonstrated cross-neutralization against various HIV-1 subtypes. The overall potency of MAb C2EB5 against 5 subtypes was ranked in the following order: subtype C> CRF01_AE> subtype D> subtype A> subtype B. The epitope exposure for MAb C2EB5 was also correlated with the neutralization properties of each subtype.
This study demonstrates the cross-clade neutralizing activity of a MAb directed against an epitope located in the C2 region of the HIV-1 env and highlights differences in the exposure of antigenic epitopes on the surface of various HIV-1 subtypes. The epitope for this newly identified neutralizing MAb made against a subtype CRF01_AE peptide is particularly exposed in subtype C viral isolates.
PMCID: PMC2770445  PMID: 19821992
19.  DNA vaccine containing the mycobacterial hsp65 gene prevented insulitis in MLD-STZ diabetes 
Our group previously demonstrated that a DNA plasmid encoding the mycobacterial 65-kDa heat shock protein (DNA-HSP65) displayed prophylactic and therapeutic effect in a mice model for tuberculosis. This protection was attributed to induction of a strong cellular immunity against HSP65. As specific immunity to HSP60 family has been detected in arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, the vaccination procedure with DNA-HSP65 could induce a cross-reactive immune response that could trigger or worsen these autoimmune diseases.
In this investigation was evaluated the effect of a previous vaccination with DNA-HSP65 on diabetes development induced by Streptozotocin (STZ). C57BL/6 mice received three vaccine doses or the corresponding empty vector and were then injected with multiple low doses of STZ.
DNA-HSP65 vaccination protected mice from STZ induced insulitis and this was associated with higher production of IL-10 in spleen and also in the islets. This protective effect was also concomitant with the appearance of a regulatory cell population in the spleen and a decreased infiltration of the islets by T CD8+ lymphocytes. The vector (DNAv) also determined immunomodulation but its protective effect against insulitis was very discrete.
The data presented in this study encourages a further investigation in the regulatory potential of the DNA-HSP65 construct. Our findings have important implications for the development of new immune therapy strategies to combat autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC2754477  PMID: 19754943
20.  Prospects for control of emerging infectious diseases with plasmid DNA vaccines 
Experiments almost 20 years ago demonstrated that injections of a sequence of DNA encoding part of a pathogen could stimulate immunity. It was soon realized that "DNA vaccination" had numerous potential advantages over conventional vaccine approaches including inherent safety and a more rapid production time. These and other attributes make DNA vaccines ideal for development against emerging pathogens. Recent advances in optimizing various aspects of DNA vaccination have accelerated this approach from concept to reality in contemporary human trials. Although not yet licensed for human use, several DNA vaccines have now been approved for animal health indications. The rapid manufacturing capabilities of DNA vaccines may be particularly important for emerging infectious diseases including the current novel H1N1 Influenza A pandemic, where pre-existing immunity is limited. Because of recent advances in DNA vaccination, this approach has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in protecting against emerging and potentially pandemic human pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2746192  PMID: 19735569
21.  The first influenza pandemic in the new millennium: lessons learned hitherto for current control efforts and overall pandemic preparedness 
Influenza viruses pose a permanent threat to human populations due to their ability to constantly adapt to impact immunologically susceptible individuals in the forms of epidemic and pandemics through antigenic drifts and antigenic shifts, respectively. Pandemic influenza preparedness is a critical step in responding to future influenza outbreaks. In this regard, responding to the current pandemic and preparing for future ones requires critical planning for the early phases where there is no availability of pandemic vaccine with rapid deployment of medical supplies for personal protection, antivirals, antibiotics and social distancing measures. In addition, it has become clear that responding to the current pandemic or preparing for future ones, nation states need to develop or strengthen their laboratory capability for influenza diagnosis as well as begin preparing their vaccine/antiviral deployment plans. Vaccine deployment plans are the critical missing link in pandemic preparedness and response. Rapid containment efforts are not effective and instead mitigation efforts should lead pandemic control efforts. We suggest that development of vaccine/antiviral deployment plans is a key preparedness step that allows nations identify logistic gaps in their response capacity.
PMCID: PMC2731762  PMID: 19664217
22.  Evaluation of recombinant invasive, non-pathogenic Eschericia coli as a vaccine vector against the intracellular pathogen, Brucella 
There is no safe, effective human vaccine against brucellosis. Live attenuated Brucella strains are widely used to vaccinate animals. However these live Brucella vaccines can cause disease and are unsafe for humans. Killed Brucella or subunit vaccines are not effective in eliciting long term protection. In this study, we evaluate an approach using a live, non-pathogenic bacteria (E. coli) genetically engineered to mimic the brucellae pathway of infection and present antigens for an appropriate cytolitic T cell response.
E. coli was modified to express invasin of Yersinia and listerialysin O (LLO) of Listeria to impart the necessary infectivity and antigen releasing traits of the intracellular pathogen, Brucella. This modified E. coli was considered our vaccine delivery system and was engineered to express Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) or Brucella antigens for in vitro and in vivo immunological studies including cytokine profiling and cytotoxicity assays.
The E. coli vaccine vector was able to infect all cells tested and efficiently deliver therapeutics to the host cell. Using GFP as antigen, we demonstrate that the E. coli vaccine vector elicits a Th1 cytokine profile in both primary and secondary immune responses. Additionally, using this vector to deliver a Brucella antigen, we demonstrate the ability of the E. coli vaccine vector to induce specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs).
Protection against most intracellular bacterial pathogens can be obtained mostly through cell mediated immunity. Data presented here suggest modified E. coli can be used as a vaccine vector for delivery of antigens and therapeutics mimicking the infection of the pathogen and inducing cell mediated immunity to that pathogen.
PMCID: PMC2633335  PMID: 19126207
23.  Vaccine based on a ubiquitous cysteinyl protease and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A protects against Streptococcus pyogenes sepsis and toxic shock 
The gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes is a common pathogen of humans that causes invasive infections, toxic-shock syndrome, rheumatic fever, necrotizing fasciitis and other diseases. Detection of antibiotic resistance in clinical isolates has renewed interest in development of new vaccine approaches for control S. pyogenes sepsis. In the study presented, a novel protein vaccine was examined. The vaccine was based on a recombinant protein fusion between streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin B (SpeB), a cysteinyl protease expressed by all clinical isolates, and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A (SpeA), a superantigen produced by a large subset of isolates.
A novel protein was produced by mutating the catalytic site of SpeB and the receptor binding surface of SpeA in a fusion of the two polypeptides. Vaccination of HLA-DQ8 transgenic mice with the SpeA-SpeB fusion protein protected against a challenge with the wild-type SpeA that was lethal to naïve controls, and vaccinated mice were protected from an otherwise lethal S. pyogenes infection.
These results suggest that the genetically attenuated SpeA-SpeB fusion protein may be useful for controlling S. pyogenes infections. Vaccination with the SpeA-SpeB fusion protein described in this study may potentially result in protective immunity against multiple isolates of S. pyogenes due to the extensive antibody cross-reactivity previously observed among all sequence variants of SpeB and the high frequency of SpeA-producing strains.
PMCID: PMC2585077  PMID: 18976486
24.  Effects of recombinant human growth hormone on HIV-1-specific T-cell responses, thymic output and proviral DNA in patients on HAART: 48-week follow-up 
Efficacious immune-based therapy in treated chronic HIV-1 infection requires the induction of virus-specific CD4+ T cells and subsequent maturation and maintenance of specific memory CD8+ T cells. Concomitant daily administration of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was used in chronically infected patients with lipodystrophy in an attempt to reconstitute these virus-specific T-cell responses.
Individuals with chronic HIV-1 infection on HAART were enrolled on a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to receive rhGH therapy. We assessed HIV-1-specific proliferative CD4+ and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-producing CD8+ T-cell responses, quantified thymic output and proviral HIV-1 DNA at the following time points: baseline; after 12 weeks of rhGH therapy; at 24 weeks, after randomization into three groups [placebo weeks 12–24 (Group A), alternate-day dosing weeks 12–24 (Group B), and twice-per-week dosing weeks 12–24 (Group C)]; and at 48 weeks after all patients had received HAART alone for the final 24 weeks.
We found significant increases in both proliferative CD4+ and IFN-γ-producing CD8+ HIV-1-specific T-cell responses after daily administration of rhGH. This increase was focused on HIV-1 Gag-specific T-cell responses. Following subsequent randomisation into different dosing regimens, HIV-1-specific proliferative CD4+ T-cell responses declined in patients receiving less frequent dosing of rhGH, while virus-specific IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T-cell responses were maintained for longer periods of time. There was no significant change in thymic output and the cell-associated HIV-1 DNA remained stable in most patients. An increased anti-HIV-1 Nef-specific CD4+ T-cell proliferative response was correlated to a decrease in proviral load, and an increased HIV-1 Gag-specific IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T-cell response correlated with an increase in proviral load.
The implication of these data is that daily dosing of rhGH with HAART, in addition to improving HIV-1-associated lipodystrophy, may reverse some of the T-lymphocyte dysfunction seen in most treated HIV-1-positive patients, in a dose-dependent manner. Such immune-based therapeutic strategies used in treated, chronic HIV-1 infection may enable the induction of virus-specific CD4+ T cells essential for the subsequent 'kick-start' and expansion of virus-specific CD8+ T cells.
Trial registration
GH in Lipoatrophy IMP22350.
PMCID: PMC2613878  PMID: 18976455
25.  CXCL10 blockade protects mice from cyclophosphamide-induced cystitis 
Alterations in serum CXCR3 ligand levels were examined in interstitial cystitis (IC) patients; similar expression patterns in serum as well as CXCR3, CXCR3 ligands, and cytokines expressed by peripheral and local leukocyte subpopulations were characterized during cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced acute cystitis in mice.
Serum levels of monokine-induced by interferon-γ (IFN-γ) (MIG/CXCL9), IFN-γ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10/CXCL10), and IFN-γ-inducible T cell α chemoattractant (I-TAC/CXCL11) were elevated in patients with IC. These clinical features closely correlated with CYP-induced cystitis in mice. Serum levels of these CXCR3 ligands and local T helper type 1 (Th1) cytokines were also increased. We demonstrate that CXCR3 as well as CXCL9, CXCL10 and CXCL11 mRNA were significantly expressed by urinary bladder lymphocytes, while CXCR3 and CXCL9 transcripts were significantly expressed by iliac lymph node leukocytes following CYP treatment. We also show that the number of CD4+ T cells, mast cells, natural killer (NK) cells, and NKT cells were increased at systemic (spleen) and mucosal (urinary bladder and iliac lymph nodes) sites, following CYP-induced cystitis in mice. Importantly, CXCL10 blockade attenuated these increases caused by CYP.
Antibody (Ab)-mediated inhibition of the most abundant serum CXCR3 ligand, CXCL10, in mice decreased the local production of CXCR3 ligands as well as Th1 cytokines expressed by local leukocytes, and lowered corresponding serum levels to reduce the severity of CYP-induced cystitis. The present study is among the first to demonstrate some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of chemokines in cystitis and may represent new drug target for this disease.
PMCID: PMC2583981  PMID: 18957084

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