Virology journal 2017 08 2314(1) 163 doi 10.1186/s12985-017-0831-4
Induction of broad immune responses at mucosal site remains a primary goal for most vaccines against mucosal pathogens. Abundance of evidence indicates that the co-delivery of mucosal adjuvants, including cytokines, is necessary to induce effective mucosal immunity. In the present study, we set out to evaluate the role of a chemokine, CCL20, as an effective mucosal adjuvant for HIV vaccine.
To evaluate the role of CCL20 as a potent adjuvant for HIV vaccine, we examined its effects on antigen-specific antibody responses, level of antibody-secreting cells, cytokine production and intestinal homing of plasma cells in vaccine immunized mice.
CCL20-incorporated VLP administered by mucosal route (intranasal (n = 10, p = 0.0085) or intravaginal (n = 10, p = 0.0091)) showed much higher potency in inducing Env-specific IgA antibody response than those administered by intramuscular route (n = 10). For intranasal administration, the HIV Env-specific IFN-γ(751 pg/ml), IL-4 (566 pg/ml), IL-5 (811 pg/ml) production and IgA-secreting plasma cells (62 IgA-secreting plasma cells/10(6) cells) in mucosal lamina propria were significantly augmented in CCL20-incorporated VLP immunized mice as compared to those immunized with Env only VLPs (p = 0.0332, 0.0398, 0.033, 0.0302 for IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-5, and IgA-secreting plasma cells, respectively). Further, anti-CCL20 mAb partially suppressed homing of Env-specific IgA ASCs into small intestine in mice immunized with CCL20-incorporated VLP by intranasal (62 decreased to 16 IgA- secreting plasma cells/10(6) cells, p = 0.0341) or intravaginal (52 decreased to 13 IgA- secreting plasma cells/10(6) cells, p = 0.0332) routes.
Our data indicated that the VLP-incorporated CCL20 can enhance HIV Env-specific immune responses in mice, especially those occurring in the mucosal sites. We also found that i.m. prime followed by mucosal boost is critical and required for CCL20 to exert its full function as an effective mucosal adjuvant. Therefore, co-incorporation of CCL20 into Env VLPs when combined with mucosal administration could represent a novel and promising HIV vaccine candidate.