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TcVac1 vaccine delivery by intradermal electroporation enhances vaccine induced immune protection against Trypanosoma cruzi infection in mice

Hegazy-Hassan, Wael, Zepeda-Escobar, José Antonio, Ochoa-García, Laucel, Contreras-Ortíz, J.M. Eloy, Tenorio-Borroto, Esvieta, Barbabosa-Pliego, Alberto, Aparicio-Burgos, José Esteban, Oros-Pantoja, Rigoberto, Rivas-Santiago, Bruno, Díaz-Albiter, Héctor, Garg, Nisha Jain, Vázquez-Chagoyán, Juan Carlos
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.2 pp. 248-257
Trypanosoma cruzi, animal models, antigen-antibody reactions, antigens, dogs, electroporation, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, heart, histology, humoral immunity, immunization, immunoglobulin G, laboratory animals, lymphocyte proliferation, lymphocytes, macrophages, mice, nests, protocols, vaccines
The efforts for the development and testing of vaccines against Trypanosoma cruzi infection have increased during the past years. We have designed a TcVac series of vaccines composed of T. cruzi derived, GPI-anchored membrane antigens. The TcVac vaccines have been shown to elicit humoral and cellular mediated immune responses and provide significant (but not complete) control of experimental infection in mice and dogs. Herein, we aimed to test two immunization protocols for the delivery of DNA-prime/DNA-boost vaccine (TcVac1) composed of TcG2 and TcG4 antigens in a BALB/c mouse model. Mice were immunized with TcVac1 through intradermal/electroporation (IDE) or intramuscular (IM) routes, challenged with T. cruzi, and evaluated during acute phase of infection. The humoral immune response was evaluated through the assessment of anti-TcG2 and anti-TcG4 IgG subtypes by using an ELISA. Cellular immune response was assessed through a lymphocyte proliferation assay. Finally, clinical and morphopathological aspects were evaluated for all experimental animals. Our results demonstrated that when comparing TcVac1 IDE delivery vs IM delivery, the former induced significantly higher level of antigen-specific antibody response (IgG2a + IgG2b > IgG1) and lymphocyte proliferation, which expanded in response to challenge infection. Histological evaluation after challenge infection showed infiltration of inflammatory cells (macrophages and lymphocytes) in the heart and skeletal tissue of all infected mice. However, the largest increase in inflammatory infiltrate was observed in TcVac1_IDE/Tc mice when compared with TcVac1_IM/Tc or non-vaccinated/infected mice. The extent of tissue inflammatory infiltrate was directly associated with the control of tissue amastigote nests in vaccinated/infected (vs. non-vaccinated/infected) mice. Our results suggest that IDE delivery improves the protective efficacy of TcVac1 vaccine against T. cruzi infection in mice when compared with IM delivery of the vaccine.