ABSTRACT: The bacterium Neisseria meningitidis of serogroups A and W-135 has in the recent decade caused most of the cases of meningococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt, and there is currently no efficient and affordable vaccine available demonstrated to protect against both these serogroups. Previously, deoxycholate-extracted outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccines against serogroup B meningococci have been shown to be safe and induce protection in humans in clonal outbreaks. The serogroup A and W-135 strains isolated from meningitis belt epidemics demonstrate strikingly limited variation in major surface-exposed protein structures. We have here investigated whether the OMV vaccine strategy also can be applied to prevent both serogroups A and W-135 meningococcal disease. A novel vaccine combining OMV extracted from recent African serogroup A and W-135 strains and adsorbed to aluminium hydroxide was developed and its antigenic characteristics and immunogenicity were studied in mice. The specificity of the antibody responses was analysed by immunoblotting and serum bactericidal activity (SBA) assays. Moreover, the bivalent A+W-135 vaccine was compared with monovalent A and W-135 OMV vaccines. The bivalent OMV vaccine was able to induce similar SBA titres as the monovalent A or W-135 OMV towards both serogroups. High SBA titres were also observed against a meningococcal serogroup C strain. These results show that subcapsular antigens may be of importance when developing broadly protective and affordable vaccines for the meningitis belt.
Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 04/2012; 76(2):99-107. · 2.23 Impact Factor