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Mucosal Anthrax Vaccine Protective in Mice

Detoxified lethal toxin elicits strong antibody responses

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Detoxified anthrax lethal toxin elicits strong antibody responses and completely protects mice against anthrax, according to research published in the April issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

Qingfu Xu, Ph.D., and Mingtao Zeng, Ph.D., from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y., tested the ability of three doses of non-toxic mutant lethal factor (mLF) or functional protective antigen (PA63) of Bacillus anthracis to act as mucosal vaccines against anthrax in mice. Mice were vaccinated intranasally.

The researchers found that although both vaccines elicited antibody responses against anthrax lethal toxin, only 30 percent of mLF animals and 60 percent of PA63 animals survived a challenge with a very high dose of anthrax spores. However, mice receiving both proteins (detoxified lethal toxin) had significantly higher antibody levels than after vaccination with each vaccine alone and were completely protected against the spore challenge.

"The data suggest that mLF and PA63 have a mutual enhancement effect for evoking systemic and mucosal immune responses and that the detoxified lethal toxin can be used as an efficient mucosal vaccine against anthrax," Xu and Zeng write.

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