The Influence of Bacille Calmette-Guerin Vaccine Strain on the Immune Response against Tuberculosis A Randomized Trial

Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (Impact Factor: 13). 11/2011; 185(2):213-22. DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201104-0714OC
Source: PubMed


Approximately 100 million doses of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine are given each year to protect against tuberculosis (TB). More than 20 genetically distinct BCG vaccine strains are in use worldwide. Previous studies suggest that BCG vaccine strain influences the immune response and protection against TB. Current data on which BCG vaccine strain induces the optimal immune response in humans are insufficient.
To compare the immune response to three different BCG vaccine strains given to infants at birth.
Newborn infants in a tertiary women's hospital were immunized at birth with one of three BCG vaccine strains. A stratified randomization according to the mother's region of birth was used.
The presence of mycobacterial-specific polyfunctional CD4 T cells measured by flow cytometry 10 weeks after immunization. Of the 209 infants immunized, data from 164 infants were included in the final analysis (BCG-Denmark, n = 54; BCG-Japan, n = 54; BCG-Russia, n = 57). The proportion of polyfunctional CD4 T cells was significantly higher in infants immunized with BCG-Denmark (0.013%) or BCG-Japan (0.016%) than with BCG-Russia (0.007%) (P = 0.018 and P = 0.003, respectively). Infants immunized with BCG-Japan had higher concentrations of secreted Th1 cytokines; infants immunized with BCG-Denmark had higher proportions of CD107-expressing cytotoxic CD4 T cells.
There are significant differences in the immune response induced by different BCG vaccine strains in newborn infants. Immunization with BCG-Denmark or BCG-Japan induced higher frequencies of mycobacterial-specific polyfunctional and cytotoxic T cells and higher concentrations of Th1 cytokines. These findings have potentially important implications for global antituberculosis immunization policies and future tuberculosis vaccine trials.

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    • "These two strains are genetically different and have been shown to induce a different immune response to crude CFP and Ag85 antigens in children in Uganda [20,21]. Immunization with BCG-Denmark or BCG-Japan induced higher frequencies of mycobacterial-specific polyfunctional and cytotoxic T cells compared with BCG-Russia in Australia [22]. However, statistical differences were shown only when BCG was used for in vitro stimulation, and not with PPD or MTB antigens [22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: BCG immunogenicity in infants differs between populations and these differences have been attributed to various factors. In this study, the influence of geographical location, season of birth, timing of vaccination, micronutrient status (zinc) and inflammatory status (C-reactive protein, CRP) were assessed. Immunogenicity was assessed by cytokine signature in culture supernatants from diluted whole blood samples stimulated with M. tuberculosis PPD, using a multiplex bead assay. Results were correlated with the plasma zinc and CRP concentrations at the time of sampling, and with interview and household data. BCG vaccinated infants were recruited in Malawi, The Gambia and the UK. In Malawi, infants vaccinated within the first week after birth showed lower production of most cytokines measured than those vaccinated later. The number of cytokines showing significant differences between Malawian and Gambian infants decreased after adjusting for season of birth. In Malawi, a proportion of infants had zinc deficiency and elevated plasma CRP (>10 mg/L), but neither zinc deficiency nor high CRP was associated with production of any of the cytokines measured. The cytokine/chemokine signatures observed in response to M. tuberculosis PPD in infants at 3 months post BCG vaccination were affected by geographical location, season of birth, and timing of vaccination but not associated with the concentration of plasma zinc or inflammatory status. These factors should be considered in future trials of new TB vaccines.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · BMC Infectious Diseases
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    • "BCG Denmark, SSI-1331 (Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark) was used to immunize infants in the first week of life or at 2 months of age [3]. BCG Connaught (Sanofi Pasteur, Toronto, Canada) was used to immunize children older than 2 months and adult participant [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is given to >120 million infants each year worldwide. Most studies investigating the immune response to BCG have focused on adaptive immunity. However the importance of TCR-gamma/delta (γδ) T cells and NK cells in the mycobacterial-specific immune response is of increasing interest. Participants in four age-groups were BCG-immunized. Ten weeks later, in vitro BCG-stimulated blood was analyzed for NK and T cell markers, and intracellular IFNgamma (IFNγ) by flow cytometry. Total functional IFNγ response was calculated using integrated median fluorescence intensity (iMFI). In infants and children, CD4 and CD4-CD8- (double-negative (DN)) T cells were the main IFNγ-expressing cells representing 43-56% and 27-37% of total CD3+ IFNγ+ T cells respectively. The iMFI was higher in DN T cells compared to CD4 T cells in all age groups, with the greatest differences seen in infants immunized at birth (p=0.002) or 2 months of age (p<0.0001). When NK cells were included in the analysis, they accounted for the majority of total IFNγ-expressing cells and, together with DN Vδ2 γδ T cells, had the highest iMFI in infants immunized at birth or 2 months of age. In addition to CD4 T cells, NK cells and DN T cells, including Vδ2 γδ T cells, are the key populations producing IFNγ in response to BCG immunization in infants and children. This suggests that innate immunity and unconventional T cells play a greater role in the mycobacterial immune response than previously recognized and should be considered in the design and assessment of novel tuberculosis vaccines.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Some empirical evidence favoring this hypothesis is provided by the finding that the BCG Japan strain induced greater cytotoxicity and T helper 1 responses in infants than the BCG Danish strain [36]. The BCG Japan strain was also proven to induce higher frequencies of mycobacterial-specific polyfunctional and cytotoxic T cells and higher concentrations of Th1 cytokines than that of the BCG Russia strain [37]. Our results showed that the 13 BCG strains have different numbers of T-cell epitopes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) has been available for more than 75 years, one third of the world's population is still infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and approximately 2 million people die of TB every year. To reduce this immense TB burden, a clearer understanding of the functional genes underlying the action of BCG and the development of new vaccines are urgently needed. Comparative genomic analysis of 19 M. tuberculosis complex strains showed that BCG strains underwent repeated human manipulation, had higher region of deletion rates than those of natural M. tuberculosis strains, and lost several essential components such as T-cell epitopes. A total of 188 BCG strain T-cell epitopes were lost to various degrees. The non-virulent BCG Tokyo strain, which has the largest number of T-cell epitopes (359), lost 124. Here we propose that BCG strain protection variability results from different epitopes. This study is the first to present BCG as a model organism for genetics research. BCG strains have a very well-documented history and now detailed genome information. Genome comparison revealed the selection process of BCG strains under human manipulation (1908-1966). Our results revealed the cause of BCG vaccine strain protection variability at the genome level and supported the hypothesis that the restoration of lost BCG Tokyo epitopes is a useful future vaccine development strategy. Furthermore, these detailed BCG vaccine genome investigation results will be useful in microbial genetics, microbial engineering and other research fields.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
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