Recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the PR/8 influenza hemagglutinin gene overcomes the impaired immune response and increased susceptibility of old mice to influenza infection

J Infect Dis. 1993 Aug;168(2):352-7. doi: 10.1093/infdis/168.2.352.


Elderly humans have increased morbidity and mortality after viral influenza despite immunization. A mouse model of influenza infection was used to search for a more effective way to induce immunity to influenza. Old (18 months) BALB/c mice were more susceptible to influenza pneumonia than young (2 months) BALB/c mice after intranasal challenge with PR/8 influenza virus despite prior immunization with influenza virus. The decreased resistance to live influenza virus challenge was associated with an impaired generation of anti-hemagglutinin antibody and cytotoxic T lymphocytes in old mice. In contrast, immunization of old mice with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the PR/8 influenza hemagglutinin gene protected them from intranasal challenge with live influenza virus and generated high levels of anti-PR/8 influenza virus hemagglutinin antibody and PR/8-specific cytotoxic T cells. Recombinant vaccine overcame the age-associated immune defect that follows the administration of conventional viral vaccine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / genetics
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae / isolation & purification
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Spleen / microbiology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics
  • Viral Vaccines / genetics
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*


  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Viral Vaccines