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Antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in PBMC from pony mares immunized with either native or recombinant zona pellucida vaccines

Joonè, C.J., Schulman, M.L., Fosgate, G.T., Plagis, T.A., Crafford, J.E., Gupta, S.K., Bertschinger, H.J.
Theriogenology 2019 v.126 pp. 106-113
CD8-positive T-lymphocytes, adjuvants, animal ovaries, anti-Mullerian hormone, antigens, cryopreservation, cytotoxicity, estradiol, flow cytometry, immune response, immunocontraception, mares, progesterone, swine, vaccination, vaccines, zona pellucida
Few studies have investigated the cell mediated immune response during zona pellucida-based immunocontraception, despite hypothesized cytotoxic T-cell involvement in ovarian dysfunction associated with these vaccines. This study aimed to investigate antigen-specific anamnestic responses of helper (CD4+) and cytotoxic (CD8+) T-lymphocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated from pony mares before and after their treatment with native porcine zona pellucida (pZP), recombinant pZP3 and pZP4 antigens (reZP) or adjuvanted saline. Mares were randomly assigned to pZP, reZP and control groups (n = 7 per group). Treatments consisted of a primary vaccination or saline (V1; Day 0) incorporating Freund's modified complete adjuvant, followed by a single booster (V2; Day 35) incorporating Freund's incomplete adjuvant. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated and cryopreserved immediately prior to V1 (Day 0) and five weeks post V2 (Day 70). Relative proliferation of T-lymphocytes in response to pZP antigen was assessed using carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester dilution with immunophenotyping, analysed via flow cytometry. Significant pZP-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocyte responses were detected in PBMC isolated from mares treated with either pZP or reZP, in comparison to pre-treatment samples. In the pZP group, but not the reZP group, CD8+ T-cell proliferation showed significant negative correlations to circulating progesterone, oestradiol and anti-Müllerian hormone levels. Results suggest that antigen-specific CD8+ T-cells may play a role in ovarian suppression observed during pZP immunocontraception in this species.