[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
The antigenicity of seasonal human influenza virus changes continuously; thus, a cross-protective influenza vaccine design needs to be established. Intranasal immunization with an influenza split-virion (SV) vaccine and a mucosal adjuvant induces cross-protection; however, no mucosal adjuvant has been assessed clinically. Formalin-inactivated intact human and avian viruses alone (without adjuvant) induce cross-protection against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus. However, it is unknown whether seasonal human influenza formalin-inactivated whole-virion (WV) vaccine alone induces cross-protection against strains within a subtype or in a different subtype of human influenza virus. Furthermore, there are few reports comparing the cross-protective efficacy of the WV vaccine and SV vaccine-mucosal adjuvant mixtures. Here, we found that the intranasal human influenza WV vaccine alone induced both the innate immune response and acquired immune response, resulting in cross-protection against drift variants within a subtype of human influenza virus. The cross-protective efficacy conferred by the WV vaccine in intranasally immunized mice was almost the same as that conferred by a mixture of SV vaccine and adjuvants. The level of cross-protective efficacy was correlated with the cross-reactive neutralizing antibody titer in the nasal wash and bronchoalveolar fluids. However, neither the SV vaccine with adjuvant nor the WV vaccine induced cross-reactive virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity. These results suggest that the intranasal human WV vaccine injection alone is effective against variants within a virus subtype, mainly through a humoral immune response, and that the cross-protection elicited by the WV vaccine and the SV vaccine plus mucosal adjuvants is similar.