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Salivary glands as organs of immunity: New research makes oral immunization easier to swallow
Date:2/10/2011

If you don't like shots or needles, you're in luck. New research published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) gives the development of new oral vaccinations a shot in the arm thanks to discoveries involving the salivary glands of mice. In addition, this research report also offers a tantalizing glimpse of vaccines that could prevent infection at mucosal surfaces, even if direct injections into the body fail to cause immunity. This technique may be effective for a wide range of diseases from influenza to cholera.

"Our work highlights the ability of the salivary glands to act as an alternative mucosal route for administering vaccines, which would lead to protective immune responses both locally and systemically," said Lucille London, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the School of Dental Medicine and Department of Oral Biology and Pathology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY. "Thus, in the future, salivary gland inoculation may become a clinically acceptable method in which to vaccinate groups of individuals against new and emerging pathogenic challenges."

To make this advance, the researchers studied two groups of mice. The first group received live cytomegalovirus directly into their salivary glands. These mice demonstrated an immune response in the salivary glands, and the researchers observed an increase in the number and types of cells associated with antibodies that were protective in the saliva. Importantly, these antibodies were also found in other mucosal secretions and in the serum of these mice, suggesting that these proteins spread to other locations in the body. Additionally, the researchers observed structural and functional changes in the immunized salivary glands, causing them to resemble lymph node-like structures commonly seen in injection-based immunizations. The second group of mice was given an inactive virus that did not cause an infection
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Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
cmooneyhan@faseb.org
301-634-7104
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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