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Latency antigen α-crystallin based vaccination imparts a robust protection against TB by modulating the dynamics of pulmonary cytokines



Latency antigen α-crystallin based vaccination imparts a robust protection against TB by modulating the dynamics of pulmonary cytokines



Plos One 6(4): E18773



Efficient control of tuberculosis (TB) requires development of strategies that can enhance efficacy of the existing vaccine Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG). To date only a few studies have explored the potential of latency-associated antigens to augment the immunogenicity of BCG. We evaluated the protective efficacy of a heterologous prime boost approach based on recombinant BCG and DNA vaccines targeting α-crystallin, a prominent latency antigen. We show that "rBCG prime-DNA boost" strategy (R/D) confers a markedly superior protection along with reduced pathology in comparison to BCG vaccination in guinea pigs (565 fold and 45 fold reduced CFU in lungs and spleen, respectively, in comparison to BCG vaccination). In addition, R/D regimen also confers enhanced protection in mice. Our results in guinea pig model show a distinct association of enhanced protection with an increased level of interleukin (IL)12 and a simultaneous increase in immuno-regulatory cytokines such as transforming growth factor (TGF)β and IL10 in lungs. The T cell effector functions, which could not be measured in guinea pigs due to technical limitations, were characterized in mice by multi-parameter flow cytometry. We show that R/D regimen elicits a heightened multi-functional CD4 Th1 cell response leading to enhanced protection. These results clearly indicate the superiority of α-crystallin based R/D regimen over BCG. Our observations from guinea pig studies indicate a crucial role of IL12, IL10 and TGFβ in vaccine-induced protection. Further, characterization of T cell responses in mice demonstrates that protection against TB is predictable by the frequency of CD4 T cells simultaneously producing interferon (IFN)γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and IL2. We anticipate that this study will not only contribute toward the development of a superior alternative to BCG, but will also stimulate designing of TB vaccines based on latency antigens.

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Accession: 054086490

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PMID: 21533158


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