To optimize mucosal immune responses to the HIV-1 peptide vaccine candidate T1SP10 MN(A), we intranasally immunized BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice with C4/V3 HIV-1 peptide together with the mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin (CT). Four doses over a 4-wk period resulted in peak serum anti-peptide IgG titers of > 1:160,000 in BALB/c mice and > 1:520,000 in C57BL/6 mice, and significant levels (>1:30,000) persisted in both strains of mice for longer than 6 mo. Furthermore, intranasal immunization with peptide and CT induced serum IgG reactivity to HIV-1 gp120 and HIV-1(MN) neutralizing responses. The primary anti-peptide IgG subclass was IgG1, suggesting a predominant Th2-type response. In addition to elevated serum anti-peptide A responses, intranasal immunization with T1SP10 MN(A) and CT induced both vaginal anti-peptide IgG and IgA responses, which persisted for 91 days in both strains of mice. Vaginal anti-HIV IgA was frequently associated with secretory component, suggesting transepithelial transport of IgA into vaginal secretions. Cervical lymph nodes contained the highest relative concentration of anti-T1SP10 MN(A) IgG-producing cells, while the spleen was the next major site of anti-T1SP10 MN(A) IgG-producing cells. Ag-specific proliferative responses were also detected in cervical lymph node and spleen cell populations after intranasal immunization with T1SP10 MN(A) and CT. In addition, intranasal immunization with T1SP10 MN(A) and CT was able to induce anti-HIV cell-mediated immunity in vivo as indicated by the induction of delayed-type hypersensitivity. Therefore, intranasal immunization with hybrid HIV peptides provides a noninvasive route of immunization that induces both long-lived systemic and mucosal Ab responses as well as cell-mediated immunity to HIV.

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