Moraxella catarrhalis strain 25238 detoxified lipooligosaccharide (dLOS)-protein conjugates induced a significant rise of bactericidal anti-LOS antibodies in animals. This study reports the effect of active or passive immunization with the conjugates or their antiserum on pulmonary clearance of M. catarrhalis in an aerosol challenge mouse model. Mice were injected subcutaneously with dLOS-tetanus toxoid (dLOS-TT), dLOS–high-molecular-weight proteins (dLOS-HMP) from nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), or nonconjugated materials in Ribi adjuvant and then challenged with M. catarrhalis strain 25238 or O35E or NTHi strain 12. Immunization with dLOS-TT or dLOS-HMP generated a significant rise of serum anti-LOS immunoglobulin G and 68% and 35 to 41% reductions of bacteria in lungs compared with the control (P < 0.01) following challenge with homologous strain 25238 and heterologous strain O35E, respectively. Serum anti-LOS antibody levels correlated with its bactericidal titers against M. catarrhalis and bacterial CFU in lungs. Additionally, immunization with dLOS-HMP generated a 54% reduction of NTHi strain 12 compared with the control (P < 0.01). Passive immunization with a rabbit antiserum against dLOS-TT conferred a significant reduction of strain 25238 CFU in lungs in a dose- and time-dependent pattern compared with preimmune serum-treated mice. Kinetic examination of lung tissue sections demonstrated that antiserum-treated mice initiated and offset inflammatory responses more rapidly than preimmune serum-treated mice. These data indicate that LOS antibodies (whether active or passive) play a major role in the enhancement of pulmonary clearance of different test strains of M. catarrhalis in mice. In addition, dLOS-HMP is a potential candidate for a bivalent vaccine against M. catarrhalis and NTHi infections
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