Passively acquired antibodies suppress humoral but not cell-mediated immunity in mice immunized with live attenuated respiratory syncytial virus vaccines

J Immunol. 2001 Oct 1;167(7):3910-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.167.7.3910.


A respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine will need to be administered by 1 mo of age to protect young infants; therefore, it will need to be effective in the presence of maternally acquired RSV Abs. In the present study, the immunogenicity and efficacy of two live attenuated RSV vaccine candidates of different level of attenuation were evaluated in mice passively immunized with varying quantities of RSV Abs. The replication of the RSV vaccines was suppressed in the lower, but not the upper, respiratory tract of the passively immunized mice. Immunization with either vaccine candidate was highly efficacious against challenge with wild-type RSV in both passively immunized and control mice. Nonetheless, a high level of immunity was seen even in passively/actively immunized animals that failed to develop a humoral immune response, suggesting that T cells mediated the immunity. Depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in passively/actively immunized and control animals at the time of challenge with wild-type RSV demonstrated that CD4+ and CD8+ T cells made significant independent contributions to the restriction of replication of RSV challenge virus in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Although passively acquired serum RSV Abs suppressed the primary systemic and mucosal Ab responses of IgM, IgG, and IgA isotypes, B lymphocytes were nevertheless primed for robust secondary Ab responses. Thus, immunity mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and Abs can be readily induced in mice by live RSV vaccine candidates in the presence of physiologic levels of RSV neutralizing Abs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Cell Line
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / therapy*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / growth & development
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology
  • Virus Replication


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated