Dendrimer peptides are promising vaccine candidates against the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). Several B-cell epitope (B2T) dendrimers, harboring a major FMDV antigenic B-cell site in VP1 protein, are covalently linked to heterotypic T-cell epitopes from 3A and/or 3D proteins, and elicited consistent levels of neutralizing antibodies and IFN-γ-producing cells in pigs. To address the contribution of the highly polymorphic nature of the porcine MHC (SLA, swine leukocyte antigen) on the immunogenicity of B2T dendrimers, low-resolution (Lr) haplotyping was performed. We looked for possible correlations between particular Lr haplotypes with neutralizing antibody and T-cell responses induced by B2T peptides. In this study, 63 pigs immunized with B2T dendrimers and 10 non-immunized (control) animals are analyzed. The results reveal a robust significant correlation between SLA class-II Lr haplotypes and the T-cell response. Similar correlations of T-cell response with SLA class-I Lr haplotypes, and between B-cell antibody response and SLA class-I and SLA class-II Lr haplotypes, were only found when the sample was reduced to animals with Lr haplotypes represented more than once. These results support the contribution of SLA class-II restricted T-cells to the magnitude of the T-cell response and to the antibody response evoked by the B2T dendrimers, being of potential value for peptide vaccine design against FMDV.
Keywords: SLA polymorphism; adaptive immunity; dendrimer peptide; foot-and-mouth disease virus; protection; swine; swine leukocyte antigen; vaccine.