Acute reactogenicity after intramuscular immunization with recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus is linked to production of IL-1β.


Journal Article

Vaccines based on live viruses are attractive because they are immunogenic, cost-effective, and can be delivered by multiple routes. However, live virus vaccines also cause reactogenic side effects such as fever, myalgia, and injection site pain that have reduced their acceptance in the clinic. Several recent studies have linked vaccine-induced reactogenic side effects to production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in humans. Our objective was therefore to determine whether IL-1β contributed to pathology after immunization with recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vaccine vectors, and if so, to identify strategies by which IL-1β mediated pathology might be reduced without compromising immunogenicity. We found that an rVSV vaccine induced local and systemic production of IL-1β in vivo, and that accumulation of IL-1β correlated with acute pathology after rVSV immunization. rVSV-induced pathology was reduced in mice deficient in the IL-1 receptor Type I, but the IL-1R-/- mice were fully protected from lethal rechallenge with a high dose of VSV. This result demonstrated that IL-1 contributed to reactogenicity of the rVSV, but was dispensable for induction of protective immunity. The amount of IL-1β detected in mice deficient in either caspase-1 or the inflammasome adaptor molecule ASC after rVSV immunization was not significantly different than that produced by wild type animals, and caspase-1-/- and ASC-/- mice were only partially protected from rVSV-induced pathology. Those data support the idea that some of the IL-1β expressed in vivo in response to VSV may be activated by a caspase-1 and ASC-independent mechanism. Together these results suggest that rVSV vectors engineered to suppress the induction of IL-1β, or signaling through the IL-1R would be less reactogenic in vivo, but would retain their immunogenicity and protective capacity. Such rVSV would be highly desirable as either vaccine vectors or oncolytic therapies, and would likely be better tolerated in human vaccinees.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Athearn, K; Sample, CJ; Barefoot, BE; Williams, KL; Ramsburg, EA

Published Date

  • January 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 10

Start / End Page

  • e46516 -

PubMed ID

  • 23056330

Pubmed Central ID

  • 23056330

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0046516


  • eng