The number, type, and location of cytokine- and Ab-secreting cells activated in mice immunized and boosted with plasmid DNA encoding the circumsporozoite protein of the malarial parasite Plasmodium yoelii (PyCSP) were monitored. The initial humoral response was localized to the draining lymph nodes and was characterized by production of IgG1 anti-PyCSP Abs and the Th2 cytokine IL-4. In contrast, the secondary response was dominated by IFN-gamma production (a Th1 cytokine) and the secretion of IgG2a anti-PyCSP Abs in the spleen. PyCSP DNA and mRNA were detected only in the quadriceps muscles (sites of plasmid injection), yet these sites lacked either cytokine- or Ab-secreting cells. These findings indicate that circulating lymphocytes encounter plasmid-encoded Ag in the muscle bed, initiate a humoral response in the draining lymph nodes, and then seed distal lymphoid organs. Profound differences were observed between the primary and secondary immune responses induced by plasmid immunization, which may influence vaccine efficacy.
- Copyright © 1995 by American Association of Immunologists