Co-immunization with DNA vaccines expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and mycobacterial secreted proteins enhances T-cell immunity, but not protective efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Kamath AT., Hanke T., Briscoe H., Britton WJ.
The development of more effective antituberculosis vaccines would assist in the control of the global problem of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. One recent vaccination strategy is immunization with DNA plasmids encoding individual microbial genes. Using the genes for the M. tuberculosis-secreted proteins, MPT64 (23 000 MW) and Ag85B (30 000 MW) as candidate antigens, we previously prepared DNA vaccines and demonstrated their ability to stimulate T-cell responses and confer protection in a mouse model of aerosol tuberculosis (TB). The protective efficacy of the DNA vaccines was less than that promoted by the current vaccine Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guèrin (BCG). To improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of these mycobacterial vectors, co-immunization of a plasmid expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) was investigated. Intramuscular immunization with DNA expressing MPT64 or Ag85B and GM-CSF enhanced the antigen-specific cellular immune response, with increased proliferative response and production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). The titre of antimycobacterial protein immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies was unchanged. Mice immunized with DNA vaccines showed reduced pulmonary bacterial load following an aerosol challenge of M. tuberculosis, but codelivery of the plasmid expressing GM-CSF did not increase the protective effect. Therefore, despite modifying the cellular immune response to DNA vaccines, GM-CSF does not improve their protective efficacy at the peak of infection after an aerosol challenge with 100 c.f.u. of M. tuberculosis.