Infants born to HIV-infected mothers are at high risk of becoming infected during gestation or the breastfeeding period. A search is thus warranted for vaccine formulations that will prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. The LAMP/gag DNA chimeric vaccine encodes the HIV-1 p55gag fused to the lysosome-associated membrane protein-1 (LAMP-1) and has been shown to enhance anti-Gag antibody (Ab) and cellular immune responses in adult and neonatal mice; such a vaccine represents a new concept in antigen presentation. In this study, we evaluated the effect of LAMP/gag DNA immunization on neonates either before conception or during pregnancy. LAMP/gag immunization of BALB/c mice before conception by the intradermal route led to the transfer of anti-Gag IgG1 Ab through the placenta and via breastfeeding. Furthermore, there were an increased percentage of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+T cells in the spleens of neonates. When offspring were immunized with LAMP/gag DNA, the anti-Gag Ab response and the Gag-specific IFN-γ-secreting cells were decreased. Inhibition of anti-Gag Ab production and cellular responses were not observed six months after immunization, indicating that maternal immunization did not interfere with the long-lasting memory response in offspring. Injection of purified IgG in conjunction with LAMP/gag DNA immunization decreased humoral and cytotoxic T-cell responses. LAMP/gag DNA immunization by intradermal injection prior to conception promoted the transfer of Ab, leading to a diminished response to Gag without interfering with the development of anti-Gag T- and B-cell memory. Finally, we assessed responses after one intravenous injection of LAMP/gag DNA during the last five days of pregnancy. The intravenous injection led to in utero immunization. In conclusion, DNA vaccine enconding LAMP-1 with Gag and other HIV-1 antigens should be considered in the development of a protective vaccine for the maternal/fetal and newborn periods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)