Main content area

The doses of plasmid backbone plays a major role in determining the HBV clearance in hydrodynamic injection mouse model

Wang, Xian, Zhu, Jianmin, Zhang, Yong, Li, Yue, Ma, Tai, Li, Qun, Xu, Jiegou, Xu, Long
Virology journal 2018 v.15 no.1 pp. 89
Hepatitis B virus, agonists, animal models, blood serum, cytokines, genome, hepatitis B antigens, hepatoma, hydrodynamics, immune response, immunohistochemistry, liver, messenger RNA, mice, plasmids, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, risk, signal transduction, staining
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronically infects approximately 350 million people worldwide, causing a major risk of liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Many mouse models have been tried to establish HBV infection through injection with various HBV-containing plasmids. However, it is not well understood that different plasmids, all of which contain the similar HBV genome, even the same plasmids with different dose, results in opposite immune responses toward HBV. METHODS: In this study, we investigated the role of HBV-containing plasmid backbones and the HBcAg in determining the HBV persistence. C57BL/6 mice were injected hydrodynamically with 6 μg or 20 μg of WT pAAV/HBV1.2 plasmid, e/core-null pAAV/HBV1.2 plasmid, or none-HBV genome pAAV/control plasmid. Serum levels of HBV-related markers were measured by quantitative immunoradiometric assay (IRMA). Liver HBcAg expression was detected by immunohistochemical staining. The mRNA levels of cytokines and Th1-related immune factors were quantified by qRT-PCR. RESULTS: All mice injected with 6 μg of the pAAV/HBV1.2 plasmid shows HBsAg positive at week 6 after hydrodynamic injection (AHI) as previously investigated. However, the mice injected with 20 μg pAAV/HBV1.2 or 6μgpAAV/HBV1.2 plus 14μgpAAV/control plasmid results in HBV clearance within 4 weeks AHI, indicating the anti-HBV activity is induced by 20 μg plasmid DNA, but not by the inserted viral genome. This anti-HBV activity is independent of HBcAg and Toll like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway, since the lack of HBcAg in pAAV/HBV1.2 plasmid or stimulation with TLRs agonists does not influence the kinetics of serum HBsAg in mice. The mRNA levels of t-bet and cxcr3 were dramatically up-regulated in the liver of the mice injected with 20 μg plasmid DNA. CONCLUSION: Our studies demonstrate that plasmid backbones are responsible for modulating immune responses to determine HBV persistence or clearance in our HBV mouse model by hydrodynamic injection of HBV-containing plasmid, and Th1 cells play key roles on HBV clearance.