, Volume 385, Issue 12, pp 1211-1225,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Sep 2012

Toxicology, biodistribution and shedding profile of a recombinant measles vaccine vector expressing HIV-1 antigens, in cynomolgus macaques

Abstract

As a new human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine approach, the live-attenuated measles virus (MV) Schwarz vaccine strain was genetically engineered to express the F4 antigen (MV1-F4). F4 is a fusion protein comprising HIV-1 antigens p17 and p24, reverse transcriptase and Nef. This study assessed the toxicity, biodistribution and shedding profiles of MV1-F4. Cynomolgus macaques were intramuscularly immunized one or three times with the highest dose of MV1-F4 intended for clinical use, the reference (Schwarz) measles vaccine or saline, and monitored clinically for 11 or 85 days. Toxicological parameters included local and systemic clinical signs, organ weights, haematology, clinical and gross pathology and histopathology. Both vaccines were well tolerated, with no morbidity, clinical signs or gross pathological findings observed. Mean spleen weights were increased after three doses of either vaccine, which corresponded with increased numbers and/or sizes of germinal centers. This was likely a result of the immune response to the vaccines. Either vaccine virus replicated preferentially in secondary lymphoid organs and to a lesser extent in epithelium-rich tissues (e.g., intestine, urinary bladder and trachea) and the liver. At the expected peak of viremia, viral RNA was detected in some biological fluid samples from few animals immunized with either vaccine, but none of these samples contained infectious virus. In conclusion, no shedding of infectious viral particles was identified in cynomolgus monkeys after injection of MV1-F4 or Schwarz measles vaccines. Furthermore, no toxic effect in relation to the MV vaccination was found with these vaccines in this study.