The immunostimulating complex (ISCOM) is an efficient mucosal delivery system for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) envelope antigens inducing high local and systemic antibody responses


Ke-FeiHu Department of Veterinary Virology, Box 585, Biomedicum, S-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden.


ISCOM is an efficient mucosal delivery system for RSV envelope proteins as measured by antibody responses in respiratory tract secretions and in sera of mice following two intranasal (i.n.) administrations. Intranasally administered RSV ISCOMs induced high levels of IgA antibodies both in the upper respiratory tract and in the lungs. In the lungs, a prominent and long-lasting IgA response was recorded, which still persisted 22 weeks after the second i.n. immunization when the experiment ended. Subcutaneous (s.c.) immunization only induced low IgA titres in the upper respiratory tract and no measurable response to RSV was found in the lungs. Differences were also noticed in serum between the i.n. and s.c. modes of immunization. ISCOMs given intranasally induced earlier, higher and longer lasting IgM and IgG1 serum anti-RSV antibody responses than those induced by the s.c. mode of administration. A low serum IgE response was only detectable at 2 weeks after i.n. immunization with ISCOMs and after s.c. immunization with an inactivated virus, but no IgE response was detectable after s.c. injection of ISCOMs. The serum IgA response was more pronounced following s.c. injection of inactivated virus than after i.n. application of ISCOMs, and a clear-cut booster effect was obtained with a second immunization. Virtually no serum IgA response was detected after the s.c. administration of ISCOMs. In conclusion, the high immune responses induced by RSV ISCOMs in the respiratory tract and serum after i.n. administration indicate prominent mucosal delivery and adjuvant properties of the ISCOMs, warranting further studies.