Treatment of intravaginal HSV-2 infection in mice: A comparison of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides and resiquimod (R-848)
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The mammalian innate immune system recognizes pathogens via a series of pattern-recognition receptors such as the toll-like receptors (TLR) that interact with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and lead to the rapid activation of innate immune cells. In this study, we compared the efficacy of CpG ODN (a TLR9 agonist) and resiquimod (R-848; a TLR7/8 agonist) for topical immunoprophylaxis or immunotherapy of vaginal herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection in mice. Efficacy against HSV infection was observed with CpG ODN but less so with R-848, even after repeated administrations. Intravaginal (IVAG) administration of CpG ODN resulted in strong local but relatively weak systemic immune activation, as determined by levels of the chemokines IP-10, MIG and I-TAC in vaginal tissue and plasma, respectively. In contrast, IVAG administration of R-848 resulted in high levels of plasma IP-10, similar to those seen after parenteral administration, but overall, weaker or shorter-lived local immune responses than obtained with CpG ODN. These findings suggest that differences in biodistribution and sites of immune activation between CpG ODN and R-848 after IVAG delivery account for differences in efficacy, and demonstrate the need for local mucosal innate activation for protection against HSV-2.
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