Immunomodulator-Mediated Enhancement of Anti-HIV-Specific Immune Response Mucosal transmission is the principal route of HIV infection. It has been shown that the mucosal early innate interferon response plays an important role against HIV infection. However, the mucosal immune response against HIV would be more effective if the neutralizing secretory immunoglobulins A and G response could be enhanced. It has been reported that highly exposed, persistently seronegative patients such as Gambian sex workers, and partners of HIV infected persons who have unprotected sexual relations exhibit higher Gag, Pol and Nef-specific T cell IFN-gamma responses in cervical mucosa, as compared to HlV-seropositive patients [3]. Moreover, several groups have shown that Gag induces an HIV-specific T-cell and IgA immune responses at mucosal sites of lung and vaginal tract [4], besides that Gag [5], [6], [7], [8], Nef [8] and Pol [8] have been used in numerous mucosal immunization protocols. Therefore, the selection of Gag, Nef and Pol as antigens in combination with a mucosal immunization approach is expected to have a positive impact in the HIV-specific immune responses. DNA based vaccines are known to elicit both: cell- and humoral mediated immune responses, however there is a need to increase the amplitude of their response in humans. On this project, we will determine the immunomodulatory effect of PAI (a polyantigenic immunopotentiator consisting of a mixture of influenza and respiratory vaccines that was proven to have anticancer and anti-HIV activities) in the enhancement of the HIV-specific immune response on a DNA vaccination platform, after vaccination of humanized HLA-A2.transgenic mice. Cell- and humoral-mediated immune responses, as measured by ELISPOT and ICC analysis in these mice, will be correlated with control of viremia after qPCR analysis of serum from pseudotyped vaccinia infected mice. We hypothesize that the Polyantigenic Immunomodulator, previously tested in our laboratory, will enhance the HlV-gag, nef and pol specific mediated immune responses, after a DNA based mucosal immunization in mice. Moreover, the facts that humanized HI_A-A2.1 mice, which possess the most common human haplotype in North America, will be used as the in vivo model, and that PAI is formulated from components currently used in humans; will build a pathway towards a clinical application of this project. We therefore expect that these results could be moved easily and safely into the clinics, and therefore, could be tested in humans.

Public Health Relevance

Cell- and humoral-mediated control of HIV infection by an adjuvant-enhanced mucosal DNA vaccine is an approach that could easily be worldwide administered. Public Health will be improved by this vaccine, as control of HIV viremia will have a direct impact on HIV-related diseases, improving the quality of life of the whole affected population, and decreasing the costs of health related services.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Research Centers in Minority Institutions Award (G12)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-RI-B (01))
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Universidad Central Del Caribe
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