Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(1):154-165. doi:10.7150/ijbs.62424 This issue
Institute of Immunopharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan, China.
Chronic Hepatitis B virus (CHB) infection is a global public health problem. Oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing class C unmethylated cytosine-guanine dinucleotide (CpG-C) motifs may provide potential adjuvants for the immunotherapeutic strategy against CHB, since CpG-C ODNs stimulate both B cell and dendritic cell (DC) activation. However, the efficacy of CpG-C ODN as an anti-HBV vaccine adjuvant remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that CpG M362 (CpG-C ODN) as an adjuvant in anti-HBV vaccine (cHBV-vaccine) successfully and safely eliminated the virus in HBV-carrier mice. The cHBV-vaccine enhanced DC maturation both in vivo and in vitro, overcame immune tolerance, and recovered exhausted T cells in HBV-carrier mice. Furthermore, the cHBV-vaccine elicited robust hepatic HBV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses, with increased cellular proliferation and IFN-γ secretion. Additionally, the cHBV-vaccine invoked a long-lasting follicular CXCR5+ CD8+ T cell response following HBV re-challenge. Taken together, CpG M362 in combination with rHBVvac cleared persistent HBV and achieved long-term virological control, making it a promising candidate for treating CHB.
Keywords: chronic hepatitis B, CpG-C ODN, therapeutic vaccine, adjuvant, immune-tolerance, CXCR5+ CD8+ T cells