Abstract / Description of output
To determine whether systemic immunization with plasmid DNA and virus vector against visna/maedi virus (VMV) would induce protective immune responses, sheep were immunized with VMV gag and/or env sequences using particle-mediated epidermal bombardment and injection of recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara. The results showed that immunization induced both humoral and cell-mediated responses prior to and after virus challenge. The vaccination protocol did not prevent infection, but immunization with the gag gene or a combination of gag and env genes resulted in significantly reduced provirus loads in blood and mediastinal lymph node, respectively. Provirus loads in lung and draining lymph node were unaffected, but p25 expression was undetectable in lungs of animals immunized with a combination of gag and env genes. Analysis of target tissues for lesions at post-mortem showed that immunization with the env gene caused a significant increase in lesion score, while the gag gene or a combination of gag and env genes had no effect. Inclusion of the ovine interferon-gamma gene in the initial priming mixture had minimal effect on immune responses, provirus load, or lesion development, although it resulted in a decreased p25 expression in the lung. The results thus show that systemic immunization with gag or a combination of gag and env genes reduces provirus load in blood and lymphoid tissue, respectively whereas env immunization has no effect on provirus load but increased lesion development. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.