Infection and immunity

Protection against Mycobacterium leprae infection by the ID83/GLA-SE and ID93/GLA-SE vaccines developed for tuberculosis.

PMID 25024362


Despite the dramatic reduction in the number of leprosy cases worldwide in the 1990s, transmission of the causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, is still occurring, and new cases continue to appear. New strategies are required in the pursuit of leprosy elimination. The cross-application of vaccines in development for tuberculosis may lead to tools applicable to elimination of leprosy. In this report, we demonstrate that the chimeric fusion proteins ID83 and ID93, developed as antigens for tuberculosis (TB) vaccine candidates, elicited gamma interferon (IFN-γ) responses from both TB and paucibacillary (PB) leprosy patients and from healthy household contacts of multibacillary (MB) patients (HHC) but not from nonexposed healthy controls. Immunization of mice with either protein formulated with a Toll-like receptor 4 ligand (TLR4L)-containing adjuvant (glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant in a stable emulsion [GLA-SE]) stimulated antigen-specific IFN-γ secretion from pluripotent Th1 cells. When immunized mice were experimentally infected with M. leprae, both cellular infiltration into the local lymph node and bacterial growth at the site were reduced relative to those of unimmunized mice. Thus, the use of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis candidate vaccines ID83/GLA-SE and ID93/GLA-SE may confer cross-protection against M. leprae infection. Our data suggest these vaccines could potentially be used as an additional control measure for leprosy.