The objective of this work was to explore whether a plasmid expressing CCL20 chemokine could improve the immune response against CSFV in co-administration with a DNA vaccine expressing the E2 protein. The immunization of pigs with the DNA vaccine formulation, that contains swine CCL20 chemokine, resulted in the homogenous induction of detectable levels of CSFV antibodies at 36 days after the first injection. Remarkably, immunized animals with E2 DNA vaccine in co-administration with the plasmid containing swine CCL20 developed high titers of neutralizing antibodies against homologous and heterologous CSFV strains and were totally protected upon a lethal viral challenge (sterilizing protection). Our results confirm the role of CCL20 to increase antibody-mediated responses. At the same time suggest the ability of CCL20 to enhance the T helper cell response associated with the induction of neutralizing antibodies against CSFV in pigs previously reported. Systemic replication of virulent CSFV in vivo during the acute phase of infection induces type I IFN. Lower average values of IFN alpha were detected in the serum of pigs immunized with pE2 and pCCL20 at 3 days after challenge. The levels of IFN-alpha detected in pigs immunized with pE2 and principally in non-vaccinated challenged animals can be related to viral load in serum at 3 and 7 days post infection and the clinical signs observed.Our results emphasized the capacity of swine CCL20 chemokine to enhance cellular, humoral and anti viral response with an adjuvant effect in the immune response elicited by E2-DNA vaccination against CSFV. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the adjuvant effect of swine CCL20 to effectively enhance the potential of DNA vaccine in the immune induction and protection against virus challenge in swine infection model. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
- CCL20 chemokine
- Cellular and humoral immune response
- Classical swine fever virus
- DNA vaccine