Immunity & ageing : I & A

The combined molecular adjuvant CASAC enhances the CD8+ T cell response to a tumor-associated self-antigen in aged, immunosenescent mice.

PMID 26157468


Ineffective induction of T cell mediated immunity in older individuals remains a persistent challenge for vaccine development. Thus, there is a need for more efficient and sophisticated adjuvants that will complement novel vaccine strategies for the elderly. To this end, we have investigated a previously optimized, combined molecular adjuvant, CASAC (Combined Adjuvant for Synergistic Activation of Cellular immunity), incorporating two complementary Toll-like receptor agonists, CpG and polyI:C, a class-II epitope, and interferon (IFN)-γ in aged mice. In aged mice with typical features of immunosenescence, antigen specific CD8+ T cell responses were stimulated after serial vaccinations with CASAC or Complete/Incomplete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA/IFA) and a class I epitope, deriving either from ovalbumin (SIINFEKL, SIL) or the melanoma-associated self-antigen, tyrosinase-related protein-2 (SVYDFFVWL, SVL). Pentamer analysis revealed that aged, CASAC/SIL-vaccinated animals had substantially higher frequencies of H-2K(b)/SIL-specific CD8+ T cells compared to the CFA/IFA-vaccinated groups. Similarly, higher frequencies of H-2K(b)/SVL-pentamer+ and IFN-γ+ CD8+ T cells were detected in the aged, CASAC + SVL-vaccinated mice than in their CFA/IFA-vaccinated counterparts. In both antigen settings, CASAC promoted significantly better functional CD8+ T cell activity. These studies demonstrate that functional CD8+ T cells, specific for both foreign and tumour-associated self-antigens, can be effectively induced in aged immunosenescent mice using the novel multi-factorial adjuvant CASAC.