Molecular adjuvants are important for augmenting or modulating immune responses induced by DNA vaccination. Promising results have been obtained using IL-12 expression plasmids in a variety of disease models including the SIV model of HIV infection. We used a mouse model to evaluate plasmid IL-12 (pIL-12) in a DNA prime, recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (rAd5) boost regimen specifically to evaluate the effect of IL-12 expression on cellular and humoral immunity induced against both SIVmac239 Gag and Env antigens. Priming with electroporated (EP) DNA+pIL-12 resulted in a 2-4-fold enhanced frequency of Gag-specific CD4 T cells which was maintained through the end of the study irrespective of the pIL-12 dose, while memory Env-specific CD4+T cells were maintained only at the low dose of pIL-12. There was little positive effect of pIL-12 on the humoral response to Env, and in fact, high dose pIL-12 dramatically reduced SIV Env-specific IgG. Additionally, both doses of pIL-12 diminished the frequency of CD8 T-cells after DNA prime, although a rAd5 boost recovered CD8 responses regardless of the pIL-12 dose. In this prime-boost regimen, we have shown that a high dose pIL-12 can systemically reduce Env-specific humoral responses and CD4T cell frequency, but not Gag-specific CD4+ T cells. These data indicate that it is important to independently characterize individual SIV or HIV antigen immunogenicity in multi-antigenic vaccines as a function of adjuvant dose.
Keywords: Adenovirus; Antibody; DNA; IL-12; T cell.
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