The immune response to a vaccinia virus recombinant expressing the measles virus haemagglutinin (VV-HA) was compared after parenteral or mucosal immunizations in mice. Parenteral immunizations with 10 p.f.u. VV-HA induced HA-specific antibody-producing cells (IgG > IgA) and HA-specific class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in the spleen. In contrast, intranasal administrations of 10 p.f.u. of VV-HA induced HA-specific spot-forming cells in the spleen (IgG > IgA) and the lungs (IgA > IgG), and HA-specific CTL in the spleen. Co-immunization by the nasal route with VV-HA and cholera toxin enhanced HA-specific immune responses. Oral immunizations with 10 p.f.u. of VV-HA generated low numbers of HA-specific IgA-producing cells in the lamina propria of the gut, and a weak HA-specific CTL activity in the spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes. Oral co-immunization with VV-HA and cholera toxin greatly enhanced the level of HA-specific spot-forming cells in the lamina propria (IgA ≫ IgG). Interestingly, intrajejunal immunizations with 10 p.f.u. VV-HA alone induced high levels of anti-HA IgG-producing cells in the spleen and anti-HA IgA-secreting cells in the lamina propria of the gut. These data show that (i) VV-HA by the nasal route is immunogenic and generates a measles-specific mucosal immune response in the lung, which represents the primary site of replication of measles virus and that (ii) VV-HA can also induce measles-specific immunity in the intestine provided that it is protected from degradation in the gastrointestinal tract, or that cholera toxin is used as an adjuvant.


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