To enhance the efficiency of antigen uptake at mucosal surfaces, CTB was conjugated to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) virus-like particles (VLPs). We characterized the immune responses to the Env and Gag proteins after intranasal administration. Intranasal immunization with a mixture of VLPs and CTB as an adjuvant elicited higher levels of SIV gp160-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) in sera and IgA in mucosae, including saliva, vaginal-wash samples, lung, and intestine, as well as a higher level of neutralization activities than immunization with VLPs alone. Conjugation of CTB to VLPs also enhanced the SIV VLP-specific antibodies in sera and in mucosae to similar levels. Interestingly, CTB-conjugated VLPs showed higher levels of cytokine (gamma interferon)-producing splenocytes and cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte activities of immune cells than VLPs plus CTB, as well as an increased level of both IgG1 and IgG2a serum antibodies, which indicates enhancement of both Th1- and Th2-type cellular immune responses. These results demonstrate that CTB can be an effective mucosal adjuvant in the context of VLPs to induce enhanced humoral, as well as cellular, immune responses
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