Immune modulation of T regulatory cells and IgE responses in horses vaccinated with West Nile virus vaccine combined with a CpG ODN

Nicole E. Behrens, Laurel J Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hypersensitivity reactions, such as hives or fatal anaphylactic shock, in response to vaccination constitute a health hazard for horses that develop allergies to vaccine components. In such horses vaccination with viral vaccines stimulates an IgE response to non-target antigens. Viral vaccines share contaminating non-target proteins, such as bovine serum albumin (BSA); these antigens can stimulate IgE production with each exposure. We hypothesized that the addition of a CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) administered in conjunction with a West Nile virus vaccine would decrease the IgE response; through up-regulation of T regulatory cells and T helper 1 cells thus decreasing the potential to induce a type 1 hypersensitivity response. Thirty adult horses were injected with either CpG ODN or control GpC ODN with a killed WNV vaccine. T regulatory cell numbers and BSA specific IgE concentrations were determined pre and post vaccination. Multicolor flow cytometry was used to evaluate expression of CD4, CD25, and intracellular Foxp3 on PBMCs. Serum concentrations of BSA specific IgE were determined by ELISA. Cell culture supernatants from BSA re-stimulated lymphocytes were evaluated for concentrations of IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and IFN-γ. The inclusion of the CpG ODN significantly increased the differentiation of T regulatory cells in response to antigen in vitro and in vivo. A significant inverse correlation was found between T regulatory cell numbers and serum BSA specific IgE concentrations. These results suggest that we can provide a safer alternate vaccination strategy, particularly for horses that have demonstrated a pro-allergic phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16925
Pages (from-to)5764-5771
Number of pages8
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015


  • Adverse vaccine responses
  • CpG ODN
  • Equine
  • IgE
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • veterinary(all)
  • Molecular Medicine


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