Article

Development of a Murine Mycobacterial Growth Inhibition Assay for Evaluating Vaccines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, United States Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Clinical and vaccine Immunology: CVI (Impact Factor: 2.37). 06/2009; 16(7):1025-32. DOI: 10.1128/CVI.00067-09
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The development and characterization of new tuberculosis (TB) vaccines has been impeded by the lack of reproducible and reliable in vitro assays for measuring vaccine activity. In this study, we developed a murine in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assay for evaluating TB vaccines that directly assesses the capacity of immune splenocytes to control the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis within infected macrophages. Using this in vitro assay, protective immune responses induced by immunization with five different types of TB vaccine preparations (Mycobacterium bovis BCG, an attenuated M. tuberculosis mutant strain, a DNA vaccine, a modified vaccinia virus strain Ankara [MVA] construct expressing four TB antigens, and a TB fusion protein formulated in adjuvant) can be detected. Importantly, the levels of vaccine-induced mycobacterial growth-inhibitory responses seen in vitro after 1 week of coculture correlated with the protective immune responses detected in vivo at 28 days postchallenge in a mouse model of pulmonary tuberculosis. In addition, similar patterns of cytokine expression were evoked at day 7 of the in vitro culture by immune splenocytes taken from animals immunized with the different TB vaccines. Among the consistently upregulated cytokines detected in the immune cocultures are gamma interferon, growth differentiation factor 15, interleukin-21 (IL-21), IL-27, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Overall, we have developed an in vitro functional assay that may be useful for screening and comparing new TB vaccine preparations, investigating vaccine-induced protective mechanisms, and assessing manufacturing issues, including product potency and stability.

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