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Immunization with plasmid DNA expressing Heat Shock Protein 40 confers prophylactic protection against chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection in Kunming mice

Li, Zhong-Yuan; Lu, Jing; Zhang, Nian-Zhang; Elsheikha, Hany M.; Hou, Jun-Ling; Guo, Hai-Ting; Zhu, Xing-Quan

Authors

Zhong-Yuan Li

Jing Lu

Nian-Zhang Zhang

Hany M. Elsheikha

Jun-Ling Hou

Hai-Ting Guo

Xing-Quan Zhu



Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii causes one of the most common protozoal diseases of humans and animals worldwide. With the aim of designing an effective vaccine against T. gondii infection, we examined the immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine expressing heat shock protein 40 (HSP40) against challenge with T. gondii (type I RH and type II Pru) strains in Kunming mice. The plasmid pVAX1-HSP40 was constructed and used to immunize mice by intramuscular injection for three sequential immunizations with two-week intervals. This immunization regimen significantly reduced parasite cyst burden in pVAX1-HSP40-immunized mice (1871.9 ± 142.3) compared with control mouse groups immunized with pVAX1 (3479.2 ± 204.4), phosphate buffered saline (3024.4 ± 212.8), or left untreated (3275.0 ± 179.8) as healthy controls (p < 0.01). However, immunization failed to protect mice against challenge with the virulent RH strain. There was a significant increase in T lymphocyte subclasses (CD3e+CD4+ T and CD3e+CD8a+ T lymphocytes) in splenic tissues in immunized mice compared with controls (p < 0.05). However, the level of antibodies, lymphocyte proliferation and concentration of cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10 and IL-12p70) were not significantly different between immunized and control mouse groups (p < 0.05). These data indicate that pVAX1-HSP40 induced specific immune responses and achieved a significant reduction in the number of brain cysts in Pru-infected mice, and thus can be tested in future immunization studies along with plasmids containing other immunogenic proteins as a cocktail vaccine to fully abolish chronic toxoplasmosis.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 23, 2018
Journal Parasite
Print ISSN 1776-1042
Electronic ISSN 1776-1042
Publisher EDP Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Article Number 37
APA6 Citation Li, Z., Lu, J., Zhang, N., Elsheikha, H. M., Hou, J., Guo, H., & Zhu, X. (2018). Immunization with plasmid DNA expressing Heat Shock Protein 40 confers prophylactic protection against chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection in Kunming mice. Parasite, 25, doi:10.1051/parasite/2018040
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/parasite/2018040
Keywords Toxoplasma gondii, HSP40, DNA vaccine, Chronic infection, Immune evaluation
Publisher URL https://www.parasite-journal.org/articles/parasite/abs/2018/01/parasite180052/parasite180052.html

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