Infectious diseases are one of the major threats for the elderly because their immune system is often compromised, and vaccinations to prevent these infections are not effective. A major defect in their immune system seems to be the inability of T cells to produce IL-2. We used papillomavirus (PV) pseudoviruses (PSVs) as a model vaccine and a gene delivery vector to address how to enhance immune responses to vaccinations. We found that oral immunization with PV PSV induced minimal mucosal and systemic Abs and CTLs specific for the PSVs in aged mice compared with young adult mice. In addition, fewer specific Th cells were generated in the aged mice. When aged mice were immunized with PV PSVs encoding human IL-2, specific Th cells were generated, producing murine IL-2, IL-4, and IFN-gamma. Further, specific Abs and CTLs were induced, resulting in protection against mucosal viral challenge Thus, this study provided a basis for clinical trials using PV PSVs encoding IL-2 for vaccination of the elderly.
|JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY
|Published (in print/issue) - Aug 2004