Mucosal bacille calmette-Guérin vaccination of humans inhibits delayed-type hypersensitivity to purified protein derivative but induces mycobacteria-specific interferon-gamma responses

Clin Infect Dis. 2000 Jun;30 Suppl 3:S217-22. doi: 10.1086/313864.


We conducted a placebo-controlled, double-dose-escalation trial of oral bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination in 48 healthy volunteers. Seven of 32 BCG recipients became purified protein derivative (PPD)-positive after dose 1, and only 1 remained positive after dose 2, which suggests that oral BCG has inhibitory effects on delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses. Ten of the original placebo recipients and 11 oral BCG recipients were recruited to return for an intradermal BCG booster vaccination. Five of 10 original placebo recipients developed PPD responses >/=10 mm, but none of 11 oral BCG recipients developed PPD induration after they received an intradermal BCG booster (P<.05; Fisher's exact test). These results document persistent inhibitory effects of oral BCG vaccination on mycobacteria-specific DTH responses. Despite inhibition of DTH, oral BCG induced significant increases in mycobacteria-specific interferon (IFN)-gamma responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. More detailed studies of cytokine and homing molecule expression indicated that differential mucosal versus cutaneous trafficking may explain the dissociation between IFN-gamma and DTH responses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • BCG Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • BCG Vaccine / immunology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / immunology*
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculin / immunology*
  • Vaccination


  • BCG Vaccine
  • Tuberculin
  • Interferon-gamma