Ponn Benjamin

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Publications (7)13.39 Total impact

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2009 · Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology

  • No preview · Chapter · Nov 2008
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    ABSTRACT: Single-stranded viral RNA (ssRNA) was recently identified as the natural ligand for TLR7 and TLR8. ssRNA sequences from viruses, as well as their synthetic analogues stimulate innate immune responses in immune cells from humans and mice, but their immunostimulatory activity has not been investigated in ruminants. In the present investigations, we tested whether synthetic RNA oligoribonucleotides (ORN) can activate immune cells from cattle. In vitro incubation of bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with ORN-induced production of IL-12, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. No significant induction of IFN-alpha was observed. Depletion of CD14+ cells from PBMC abrogated the IL-12 response and consequently the IFN-gamma response, suggesting that CD14+ cells are required for PBMC immune activation with ORN. Consistent with these findings, the putative receptors for ORN (TLR7 and TLR8) were expressed at higher levels in the CD14+ fraction than the CD14- PBMC fraction. Pre-treatment of PBMC with bafilomycin (an inhibitor of phagosomal acidification) prior to stimulation with ORN abolished the cytokine responses, confirming that the receptor(s) which mediate the ORN-induced responses are intracellular. These results demonstrate for the first time that the TLR7/8 agonist ORN's have strong immune stimulatory effects in cattle, and suggest that further investigation on the potential of TLR7/8 ligands to activate innate and adaptive immune responses in domestic animals are warranted.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2008 · Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
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    ABSTRACT: The immune stimulatory effects of synthetic CpG DNA, on porcine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) have been reported, but little is known about CpG-induced responses in other lymphoid tissues of pigs. We investigated innate immune responses induced by CpG DNA in cells from blood, lymph nodes (LN) and spleens of pigs. Porcine PBMC and lymph node cells (LNC) were stimulated in vitro with three classes (A-, B- and C-class) of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs), and a non-CpG control ODN. All three classes of CpG ODNs induced significant production of IFNalpha, TNFalpha, IL-1, IL-6 and IL-12 in PBMC. In contrast, in LNC, only IL-12 was stimulated by all three classes of CpG ODNs, while IFNalpha, and IL-6 were induced by A- and C-class ODNs. No TNFalpha was induced in LNC by any of the ODNs. Significant lymphocyte proliferation was induced in PBMC by all three classes of CpG ODNs and non-CpG control. However, in LNC, B- and C-class ODNs induced significant proliferation, while no proliferation was seen with A-class and non-CpG control ODN. All three classes of ODNs induced NK-like cytotoxicity in PBMC and spleen cells, but were less effective in inducing NK cytotoxicity in LNC. We then investigated the reasons for the relatively poor CpG-induced responses in LNC. Our investigations revealed that LNC had a lower frequency of IFNalpha-secreting cells and expressed low levels of TLR9 mRNA compared to PBMC. We conclude that the lower number of IFNalpha-secreting cells and receptor expression may contribute to the attenuated responses in LNC following stimulation with CpG ODN.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2008 · Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
  • George Mutwiri · Ponn Benjamin · Henry Soita · Lorne A Babiuk
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    ABSTRACT: An emerging paradigm in vaccinology is that multiple adjuvant combinations may be more effective than individual adjuvants in enhancing immune responses to vaccine antigens. We investigated whether the polyphosphazenes used in combination with CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) were potent adjuvant formulations. BALB/c mice were immunized subcutaneously with Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) alone, or in various combinations with poly[di(sodium carboxylatophenoxy)phosphazene] (PCPP), poly[di(sodium carboxylatoethylphenoxy)phosphazene] (PCEP) or CpG ODN. All three adjuvants enhanced HBsAg-specific IgG1 antibody responses with PCEP inducing the highest responses. PCEP and CpG ODN significantly enhanced the Th1-associated antibody isotype IgG2a. As expected CpG ODN induced predominantly Th1-type immune responses while PCEP was associated with mixed Th1/Th2 immune responses. Interestingly, PCEP and PCPP synergized with CpG ODN to further enhance antibody responses. Since the mechanisms which mediate the adjuvant activity of polyphosphazenes are not fully understood, we investigated whether PCEP and PCPP could stimulate innate immune responses. Incubation of mouse splenocytes with PCEP or PCPP (in the absence of antigen) stimulated production of IL-4 and IL-12, but only PCEP induced significant IFNgamma production. Additionally, IL-12 was not required for PCEP induced IFNgamma response. We conclude that the polyphosphazene-CpG ODN combination is a potent adjuvant formulation that is more effective in enhancing immune responses than either of the individual adjuvants. In addition, we provide evidence that PCEP and PCPP can stimulate innate cytokine production, suggesting a potential mechanism by which polyphosphazenes achieve their potent adjuvant effects.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: CpG ODN signal through Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and trigger a cascade of events that lead to activation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Our current understanding of the immunobiology of host responses to CpG is based largely on studies on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and splenocytes. Little is known regarding CpG-induced responses in other lymphoid tissues. In the present study, we investigated responses induced by CpG in both PBMC and lymph nodes. Cells were isolated from the superficial cervical lymph node (LNC) and blood and then stimulated with CpG ODN (either A-, or B- or C-class ODN). Cytokine production was assayed by ELISA, and lymphocyte proliferation was determined by (3)H-thymidine incorporation. NK-like cytotoxicity was analyzed by lysis of (51)Cr-labelled target cells. All three classes of CpG induced IFNalpha and IFNgamma in LNC. In contrast, only A and C-class ODN induced IFNalpha and IFNgamma in PBMC. Moreover, the IFN levels in LNC were 20-40-fold higher than in PBMC. Furthermore, all classes of ODN induced higher IL-12 levels in LNC (five- to six-fold) than in PBMC. Both B and C-class ODN induced good proliferative responses in PBMC and LNC, but the A-class ODN did not induce proliferation of PBMC and only induced moderate proliferation of LNC. A-class ODN induced significant NK-like activity in LNC. Thus, all three classes of CpG ODN induced similar responses in LNC, and these responses were consistently higher than in PBMC. These observations indicate that CpG ODN-induced responses differ between blood and lymph nodes, and suggest that the functional classification of CpG ODN based on PBMC responses may not be directly applicable to cells from other immune tissues.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the ability of a novel polyphosphazene polyelectrolyte, poly[di(sodium carboxylatoethylphenoxy)phosphazene] (PCEP) to enhance antigen-specific immune responses. BALB/c mice were immunized once subcutaneously with either bovine serum albumin (BSA) or influenza virus X:31 antigen alone, or in combination with PCEP, or either of the adjuvants poly[di(sodium carboxylatophenoxy)phosphazene] (PCPP) and alum. Both PCEP and PCPP significantly enhanced serum antigen-specific total IgG, IgG1 and IgG2a antibody titers, and these responses were highest in PCEP-immunized mice. Alum induced only a modest enhancement of antibody responses. Reducing the dose of X:31 antigen by 25-fold had no effect on antibody responses in mice immunized with PCPP and PCEP, but resulted in reduced titers in those immunized with alum. Analysis of X:31 antigen-specific cytokines revealed that alum and PCPP were associated with a predominantly IL-4 response. In contrast, PCEP was associated with production of both IFNgamma and IL-4. We conclude that PCEP is a potent enhancer of antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 immune responses and is a promising adjuvant for vaccine applications.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Vaccine