OX40 Ligand Fusion Protein Delivered Simultaneously With the BCG Vaccine Provides Superior Protection Against Murine Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection

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Abstract

Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection claims approximately 2 million lives per year, and improved efficacy of the BCG vaccine remains a World Health Organization priority. Successful vaccination against M. tuberculosis requires the induction and maintenance of T cells. Targeting molecules that promote T-cell survival may therefore provide an alternative strategy to classic adjuvants. We show that the interaction between T-cell–expressed OX40 and OX40L on antigen-presenting cells is critical for effective immunity to BCG. However, because OX40L is lost rapidly from antigen-presenting cells following BCG vaccination, maintenance of OX40-expressing vaccine-activated T cells may not be optimal. Delivering an OX40L:Ig fusion protein simultaneously with BCG provided superior immunity to intravenous and aerosol M. tuberculosis challenge even 6 months after vaccination, an effect that depends on natural killer 1.1+ cells. Attenuated vaccines may therefore lack sufficient innate stimulation to maintain vaccine-specific T cells, which can be replaced by reagents binding inducible T-cell costimulators.

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