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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Immunostimulatory CpG Motifs Trigger a T Helper-1 Immune Response to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 (HIV-1) gp160 Envelope Proteins

Ludwig Deml / Reinhold Schirmbeck / Jörg Reimann / Hans Wolf / Ralf Wagner

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 37, Issue 3, Pages 199–204, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.1999.037, June 2005

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Bacterial DNA sequences containing unmethylated CpG motifs have recently been proposed to exhibit immunostimulatory effects on B-, T- and NK cells, leading to the induction of humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. In the present study we investigated the immunomodulatory effects of a CpG-containing oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG ODN) to the HIV-1 gp160 envelope (Env) protein in the BALB/c mouse model. Priming and boosting of mice with gp160 adsorbed to aluminium hydroxide (Alum) induced a typical T helper-2 (Th2)-dominated immune response with high titers of gp160-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)G1 isotypes but a weak IgG2a response. Specifically re-stimulated splenocytes from these mice predominantly secreted interleukin (IL)-5 but only minute amounts of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) upon specific re-stimulation. In contrast, a boost immunisation of gp160/Alum primed mice with a gp160/Alum/CpG combination resulted in a seven times higher production of IgG2a antibodies, without affecting the titers of IgG1 isotypes. Furthermore, approximately 10-fold increased levels of IFN-γ, but significantly reduced amounts of IL-5, were secreted from gp160-restimulated splenic cells. A further greater than 30-fold increase in the levels of specific IgG2a responses and a substantially elevated secretion of IFN-γ were observed when the mice received gp160/Alum/CpG combinations for priming and boost injections. Thus, CpG ODNs are useful as an adjuvant to induce a typical Th0/Th1 response to HIV gp160 proteins. However, despite the induction of a more Th1-like immune response, gp160/Alum/CpG combinations were not sufficient to prime an Env-specific cytotoxic T-cell (CTL) response.

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