DNA Priming Increases Frequency of T-Cell Responses to a Vesicular Stomatitis Virus HIV Vaccine with Specific Enhancement of CD8+ T-Cell Responses by Interleukin-12 Plasmid DNA.
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 087 vaccine trial assessed the effect of increasing doses of pIL-12 (interleukin-12 delivered as plasmid DNA) adjuvant on the immunogenicity of an HIV-1 multiantigen (MAG) DNA vaccine delivered by electroporation and boosted with a vaccine comprising an attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus expressing HIV-1 Gag (VSV-Gag). We randomized 100 healthy adults to receive placebo or 3 mg HIV-MAG DNA vaccine (ProfectusVax HIV-1 gag/pol or ProfectusVax nef/tat/vif, env) coadministered with pIL-12 at 0, 250, 1,000, or 1,500 μg intramuscularly by electroporation at 0, 1, and 3 months followed by intramuscular inoculation with 3.4 × 107 PFU VSV-Gag vaccine at 6 months. Immune responses were assessed after the prime and boost and 6 months after the last vaccination. High-dose pIL-12 increased the magnitude of CD8+ T-cell responses postboost compared to no pIL-12 (P = 0.02), while CD4+ T-cell responses after the prime were higher in the absence of pIL-12 than with low- and medium-dose pIL-12 (P ≤ 0.05). The VSV boost increased Gag-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in all groups (P < 0.001 for CD4+ T cells), inducing a median of four Gag epitopes in responders. Six to 9 months after the boost, responses decreased in magnitude, but CD8+ T-cell response rates were maintained. The addition of a DNA prime dramatically improved responses to the VSV vaccine tested previously in the HVTN 090 trial, leading to broad epitope targeting and maintained CD8+ T-cell response rates at early memory. The addition of high-dose pIL-12 given with a DNA prime by electroporation and boosted with VSV-Gag increased the CD8+ T-cell responses but decreased the CD4+ responses. This approach may be advantageous in reshaping the T-cell responses to a variety of chronic infections or tumors. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01578889.).
Li, SS; Kochar, NK; Elizaga, M; Hay, CM; Wilson, GJ; Cohen, KW; De Rosa, SC; Xu, R; Ota-Setlik, A; Morris, D; Finak, G; Allen, M; Tieu, H-V; Frank, I; Sobieszczyk, ME; Hannaman, D; Gottardo, R; Gilbert, PB; Tomaras, GD; Corey, L; Clarke, DK; Egan, MA; Eldridge, JH; McElrath, MJ; Frahm, N; NIAID HIV Vaccine Trials Network,
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