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Delivery of pCMV-S DNA Using the Helios Gene Gun System Is Superior to Intramuscular Injection in Balb/c Mice

lasmid using the Helios gene gun system was a simple and efficient method of DNA vaccination in Balb/c mice. In these pilot experiments, gene gun delivery consistently produced a higher antibody response rate to vaccination than the intramuscular route.

A single gene gun vaccination resulted in an antibody response against the antigen (measured at 1:10 dilution of antisera) in 66% (four out of six) of mice, this being equal to the response frequency observed with two intramuscular vaccinations. Following two gene gun vaccinations, all mice developed prolonged antibody titers that were detectable at 1:1,000 antiserum dilutions and had not declined at week 12. In contrast, two intramuscular vaccinations resulted in at least 100-fold lower titers of antibody, and in only 66% (four out of six) of mice.

The isotype of an antibody is often a good indication of the direction in which the immune response has developed. The IgG antibody subclass produced in response to intramuscular pCMV-S delivery was predominantly IgG2a. This is indicative of the T helper class 1 pathway (Th1). With Helios gene gun delivery of pCMV-S, the subclass produced tended towards IgG1, suggesting an antibody-based immune response mediated by the T helper class 2 pathway (Th2). This is consistent with previous experiments using the pCMV-S plasmid (McCluskie et al. 1999). The bias toward a Th1 or Th2 response following DNA gene gun delivery appears to vary according to different reports and may be a consequence of the encoded antigen and the makeup of the DNA construct.

This pilot study has allowed us to compare intramuscular vs. gene gun-mediated, intradermal immunization. It has demonstrated the reliability and eas
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