Early pneumococcal clearance in mice induced by systemic immunization with recombinant BCG PspA-PdT prime and protein boost correlates with cellular and humoral immune response in bronchoalveolar fluids (BALF)

An effective immunological response in the lungs during a pneumococcal infection is a key factor to the bacteria clearance and prevention of sepsis. In order to develop broad-range pneumococcal vaccines several pneumococcal proteins and strong adjuvants have been investigated. Previously, we constructed a recombinant BCG (rBCG) strain expressing a fragment of PspA (Pneumococcal surface protein A) fused to PdT (detoxified form of pneumolysin). Immunization of mice with a priming dose of rBCG PspA-PdT followed by a booster dose of rPspA-PdT fused protein induced a high antibody response in the serum and protected mice against lethal challenge. Here, we investigated the humoral and cellular immune response in the Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Immunization of mice with rBCG PspA-PdT / rPspA-PdT induced rapid clearance of bacteria after challenge, an early control of the cellular influx and reduced inflammatory cytokine levels in the BALF. In addition, rBCG PspA-PdT / rPspA-PdT induced higher lymphocyte recruitment to the lungs at 48 h, showing an increased percentage of CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, BALF samples from mice immunized with rBCG PspA-PdT / PspA-PdT showed high binding of IgG2c and enhanced complement deposition on the pneumococcal surface; antibody binding was specific to PspA as no binding was observed to a PspA-knockout strain. Taken together, our results show that the immunization with rBCG PspA-PdT / rPspA-PdT induces humoral and cellular immune responses in the lungs, promotes an early clearance of pneumococci and protects against the systemic dissemination of pneumococci.
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Streptococcus pneumoniae;  PspA;  PdT;  rBCG;  Cytokines;  Protection

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Goulart C, Rodríguez D, Kanno AI, Cunha e Silva JLS, Leite LCC. Early pneumococcal clearance in mice induced by systemic immunization with recombinant BCG PspA-PdT prime and protein boost correlates with cellular and humoral immune response in bronchoalveolar fluids (BALF). Vaccine X. 2019 Dec;4:100049. doi:10.1016/j.jvacx.2019.100049.
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