Increasing the Vaccine Potential of Live M. bovis BCG by Coadministration with Plasmid DNA Encoding a Tuberculosis Prototype Antigen

  • Bruffaerts N
  • Romano M
  • Denis O
 et al. 
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The attenuated live M. bovis Bacille-Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is still the sole vaccine used against tuberculosis, but confers only variable efficacy against adult pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Though no clear explanation for this limited efficacy has been given, different hypotheses have been advanced, such as the waning of memory T-cell responses, a reduced antigenic repertoire and the inability to induce effective CD8+ T-cell responses, which are known to be essential for latent tuberculosis control. In this study, a new BCG-based vaccination protocol was studied, in which BCG was formulated in combination with a plasmid DNA vaccine. As BCG is routinely administered to neonates, we have evaluated a more realistic approach of a simultaneous intradermal coadministration of BCG with pDNA encoding the prototype antigen, PPE44. Strongly increased T- and B-cell responses were observed with this protocol in C57BL/6 mice when compared to the administration of only BCG or in combination with an empty pDNA vector, as measured by Th1-type spleen cell cytokine secretion, specific IgG antibodies, as well as specific IFN-γ producing/cytolytic-CD8+ T-cells. Moreover, we observed a bystander activation induced by the coding plasmid, resulting in increased immune responses against other non-plasmid encoded, but BCG-expressed, antigens. In all, these results provide a proof of concept for a new TB vaccine, based on a BCG-plasmid DNA combination.

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  • Nicolas Bruffaerts

  • Marta Romano

  • Olivier Denis

  • Fabienne Jurion

  • Kris Huygen

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