We have recently demonstrated that immunization with hepatitis C virus-like particles (HCV-LPs) generated in insect cells can elicit both humoral and cellular immune responses in BALB/c mice. Here, we evaluate the immunogenicity of HCV-LPs in HLA2.1 transgenic (AAD) mice in comparison to DNA immunization. HCV-LP immunization elicited a significantly stronger humoral immune response than DNA immunization. HCV-LP-immunized mice also developed stronger HCV-specific cellular immune responses than DNA-immunized mice as determined by using quantitative enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay and intracellular cytokine staining. In BALB/c mice, immunization with HCV-LPs resulted in a >5 log10 reduction in vaccinia titer when challenged with a recombinant vaccinia expressing the HCV structural proteins (wHCV.S), as compared to 1 log10 decrease in DNA immunization. In HLA2.1 transgenic mice, a 1-2 log10 reduction resulted from HCV-LP immunization, whereas no reduction was seen from DNA immunization. Adoptive transfer of lymphocytes from HCV-LP-immunized mice to naive mice provided protection against wHCV.S challenge, and this transferred immunity can be abrogated by either CD4 or CD8 depletion. Our results suggest that HCV-LPs can induce humoral and cellular immune responses that are protective in a surrogate HCV challenge model and that a strong cellular immunity provided by both CD4 and CD8 effector lymphocytes may be important for protection from HCV infection.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - May 27 2003|
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