Administration of HPV DNA vaccine via electroporation elicits the strongest CD8+ T cell immune responses compared to intramuscular injection and intradermal gene gun delivery

Simon R. Best, Shiwen Peng, Chi Mou Juang, Chien Fu Hung, Drew Hannaman, John R. Saunders, T. C. Wu, Sara I. Pai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


DNA vaccines are an attractive approach to eliciting antigen-specific immunity. Intracellular targeting of tumor antigens through its linkage to immunostimulatory molecules such as calreticulin (CRT) can improve antigen processing and presentation through the MHC class I pathway and increase cytotoxic CD8+ T cell production. However, even with these enhancements, the efficacy of such immunotherapeutic strategies is dependent on the identification of an effective route and method of DNA administration. Electroporation and gene gun-mediated particle delivery are leading methods of DNA vaccine delivery that can generate protective and therapeutic levels of immune responses in experimental models. In this study, we perform a head-to-head comparison of three methods of vaccination - conventional intramuscular injection, electroporation-mediated intramuscular delivery, and epidermal gene gun-mediated particle delivery - in the ability to generate antigen-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses as well as anti-tumor immune responses against an HPV-16 E7 expressing tumor cell line using the pNGVL4a-CRT/E7(detox) DNA vaccine. Vaccination via electroporation generated the highest number of E7-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, which correlated to improved outcomes in the treatment of growing tumors. In addition, we demonstrate that electroporation results in significantly higher levels of circulating protein compared to gene gun or intramuscular vaccination, which likely enhances calreticulin's role as a local tumor anti-angiogenesis agent. We conclude that electroporation is a promising method for delivery of HPV DNA vaccines and should be considered for DNA vaccine delivery in human clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5450-5459
Number of pages10
Issue number40
StatePublished - Sep 4 2009



  • Calreticulin (CRT)
  • DNA vaccine
  • Electroporation
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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