To evaluate the feasibility of mucosal immunization against Pneumocystis carinii (Pc) experimental infection, female BALB/c mice were intranasally immunized three times with soluble Pc antigens plus cholera toxin fraction B (Pc-CTB); control groups received either Pc antigen, CTB, or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) alone. Two weeks after the last immunization, five animals from each group were sacrificed, and cellular and humoral immune responses were evaluated. The remaining five mice were CD4 depleted using a monoclonal antibody against mouse CD4 and inoculated with Viable Pc. Significantly higher specific lymphoproliferative responses from tracheobronchial lymph node cells, immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibody levels in serum, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)-derived IgA antibody concentrations were observed in the Pc-CTB group of mice relative to control groups (P < 0.01). Five weeks after challenge, no Pc organisms were observed in the lung smears of the Pc-CTB group, while the animals receiving antigen, adjuvant, or PBS had progressively higher numbers of Pc microorganisms. By Western blot analysis, a strongly reactive 55- to 60-kDa antigen was recognized by BAL IgA and by serum IgG. In summary, mucosal immunization elicited specific cellular and humoral immune responses and protected against Pc lung infection after immunosuppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases