Systemic immune response after rotavirus inoculation of neonatal mice depends on source and level of purification of the virus: Implications for the use of heterologous vaccine candidates
Rotavirus is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and vaccines are currently under development, with clinical trails conducted in humans worldwide. The immune responses in infant BALB/c mice were examined following oral inoculation with murine rotavirus EDIM (2 × 104focus-forming units) and with three CsCl gradient-purified fractions of heterologous simian rotavirus SA11 (standardized at 2 × 106CCID50) that differed in antigen composition: fraction 1 was enriched for double-layered rotavirus particles, fraction 2 for triple-layered particles and fraction 3 consisted mainly of cell components. Diarrhoea and high IgG responses, but marginal IgA responses, were observed after inoculation with all three SA11 fractions. Virus shedding was observed in all EDIM-inoculated mice, but in none of the SA11 -inoculated mice. Rotavirus-specific IgG1: 2a ratios were similar in mice inoculated with EDIM and SA11 fraction 1, but higher for SA11 fraction 3- and lower for SA11 fraction 2-inoculated mice. A higher IgG1:2a ratio indicates a more Th2-like immune response. This undesirable response is apparently mostly induced by inoculation with heterologous rotavirus in the presence of abundant cell-associated and soluble rotavirus proteins, compared with infection with a more purified preparation or with homologous virus. These data show that, following inoculation with a standardized amount of infectious virus, the composition of the fraction influences the outcome of the immune responses significantly.