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Keywords:

  • combination vaccine;
  • Chlamydia;
  • HSV-2;
  • antibodies;
  • cytokines;
  • protection

Abstract

Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) genital infections pose a considerable public health challenge worldwide. Considering the high incidence of coinfections by the two pathogens, a combination vaccine that can be administered as a single regimen would be highly desirable. Recombinant Vibrio cholerae ghosts (rVCG) offer an attractive approach for the induction of humoral and cellular immune responses against human and animal pathogens. In this study, we evaluated a bivalent combination vaccine formulation comprising rVCG expressing chlamydial MOMP and HSV-2 glycoprotein D in mice for immunogenicity and protective efficacy against genital challenge with either pathogen. Mice immunized with the combination vaccine elicited secretory IgA and IgG2a antibodies to both chlamydial and HSV-2 antigens in serum and vaginal secretions. Robust antigen-specific mucosal and systemic T helper type 1 responses were induced in mice as measured by increased interferon-γ levels produced by immune T cells in response to restimulation with target antigen in vitro. In addition, mice immunized with the combination vaccine were prophylactically protected from genital challenge with high doses of live Chlamydia and HSV-2. Thus, the combination vaccine regimen delivered by rVCG elicited adequate immune effectors that simultaneously protected against the individual pathogens.