Comparison of immune responses and protective efficacy of intranasal prime-boost immunization regimens using adenovirus-based and CpG/HH2 adjuvanted-subunit vaccines against genital Chlamydia muridarum infection
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An efficacious Chlamydia vaccine is urgently needed to control Chlamydia infections. Heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimens are emerging as a promising strategy for preventing intracellular viral and bacterial infections. However, it remains to be determined if this regimen would be a feasible and effective approach for Chlamydia infection. In this study, we examined the immune response and the protective efficacy induced by various vaccination regimens using a recombinant adenovirus vector expressing the Chlamydia antigen CPAF (AdCPAF) and recombinant CPAF (rCPAF) subunit vaccines formulated with CpG oligodeoxynucleotides and/or a synthetic immunomodulatory peptide HH2 as adjuvants. A single dose of AdCPAF stimulated potent antibody production but weak cellular immune responses in mice. A booster rCPAF vaccine formulated with both CpG and HH2, but not CpG alone or HH2 alone, showed robust adjuvant effects on induction of Th1-biased cellular immune responses in mice primed with AdCPAF. In contrast, a homologous regimen using rCPAF/CpG/HH2 subunit vaccine for both priming and boosting induced a weak antibody response, but potent cellular immunity with a mixed Th1/Th17 profile. Despite the disparities observed in humoral and cellular immune responses, both the heterologous and homologous prime-boost regimens conferred significant immune protection against genital Chlamydia muridarum challenge in C3H/HeN and BALB/c mice.