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The CTA1-DD adjuvant strongly potentiates follicular dendritic cell function and germinal center formation, which results in improved neonatal immunization

Journal article
Authors Sophie Schussek
Valentina Bernasconi
Johan Mattsson
Ulf Alexander Wenzel
Anneli Strömberg
Inta Gribonika
Karin Schön
Nils Y Lycke
Published in Mucosal Immunology
ISSN 1933-0219
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Language en
Keywords b-cells, vaccine adjuvant, immune-responses, lymph-nodes, peyers-patches, helper-cells, memory b, mucosal, follicles, complexes, Immunology
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area


Vaccination of neonates and young infants is hampered by the relative immaturity of their immune systems and the lack of safe and efficacious vaccine adjuvants. Immaturity of the follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), in particular, appears to play a critical role for the inability to stimulate immune responses. Using the CD21mT/mG mouse model we found that at 7 days of life, FDCs exhibited a mature phenotype only in the Peyer ' s patches (PP), but our unique adjuvant, CTA1-DD, effectively matured FDCs also in peripheral lymph nodes following systemic, as well as mucosal immunizations. This was a direct effect of complement receptor 2-binding to the FDC and a CTA1-enzyme-dependent enhancing effect on gene transcription, among which CR2, IL-6, ICAM-1, IL-1 beta, and CXCL13 encoding genes were upregulated. This way we achieved FDC maturation, increased germinal center B-cell- and Tfh responses, and enhanced specific antibody levels close to adult magnitudes. Oral priming immunization of neonates against influenza infection with CTA1-3M2e-DD effectively promoted anti-M2e-immunity and significantly reduced morbidity against a live virus challenge infection. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate direct effects of an adjuvant on FDC gene transcriptional functions and the subsequent enhancement of neonatal immune responses.

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