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Keywords:

  • contraceptive vaccine;
  • sperm;
  • DNA vaccine;
  • immunocontraception;
  • fertility

Abstract

Vaccination of female mice with recombinant fertilization antigen (FA-1) causes a long-term reversible contraceptive effect. Also, a DNA vaccine based upon a dodecamer sequence YLP12 present in sperm causes a reduction in fertility. In the present study, the effects of FA-1 DNA vaccine alone, and FA-1 and YLP12 DNA vaccines together were examined. FA-1 495-bp DNA was cloned into pVAX1 vector to prepare the DNA vaccine. Four groups of female mice were immunized intradermally by using a gene gun with FA-1 DNA, FA-1 DNA + YLP12 DNA, FA-1 DNA + YLP12 DNA mixed with exogenous synthetic CpG oliogodeoxynucleotide (ODN), or vector DNA alone, respectively. Vaccination with all three formulations caused a significant reduction in fertility, with FA-1 DNA + YLP12 DNA mixed with exogenous synthetic CpG ODN showing the highest reduction. Vaccination with all three formulations raised antibody response in both the sera as well as locally in the vaginal tract, with ODN mixed group demonstrating the highest titers. There was no antibody response in the mice injected with the vector alone. In sera, the highest titers were obtained for the IgG class for all vaccine formulations followed by the IgA class. In vaginal washing, the highest titers were obtained by the IgA class followed by the IgG class. Within the IgG class, the titers for the IgG2a subclass were significantly greater than the IgG1 subclass. The immunocontraceptive effects were long-lasting over 1 year of the observation period and increased with time. These novel findings indicate that the intradermal immunization with a sperm-specific FA-1 DNA vaccine causes a long-term circulating and local immune response resulting in immunocontraceptive effects in female mice. The anti-fertility effects were enhanced when FA-1 DNA vaccine was combined with YLP12 DNA vaccine and injected with ODN. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 73: 1473–1479, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.