• AOD;
  • immune suppression;
  • immunotherapy;
  • mZP3 protein;
  • T regulatory cells



Autoimmune ovarian disease (AOD) caused by auto-reactive T cells is considered a major reason for human premature ovarian failure, which affects 5% of women worldwide.

Methods and Results

To develop an effective treatment for AOD, we showed that the co-administration of mouse zona pellucida protein 3 (mZP3) protein and DNA vaccine encoding the mZP3 was able to meliorate AOD in an AOD murine model induced by the mZP3. We observed that established AOD in mice reverted to a normal ovarian morphology without notable T-cell infiltration in the co-administrated group; whereas mice in the control groups developed severe AOD. The amelioration appears to be antigen specific because other co-administration combinations failed to reverse AOD and correlates with significant reductions of pathogenic T-cell responses and productions of tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ. Furthermore, the melioration is apparently associated with the induction of mZP3 specific regulatory T cells that exhibit a phenotypic CD4+CD25FoxP3+IL-10+ in the co-administrated group, which can be transferred to reverse AOD in vivo.


Thus, co-administration of mZP3 DNA and protein vaccines can be used to treat established AOD, and may provide a novel immunotherapy strategy to treat other autoimmune diseases. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.