Background: Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which has been inoculated to more than one billion people world-wide, has significant effect in preventing tuberculous meningitis and miliary tuberculosis (TB) in neonate and early childhood. However, BCG fails to adequately protect against pulmonary TB and reactivation of latent infections in adults. To overcome this problem, adequate booster is urgently desired in adult who received prior BCG vaccination, and appropriate animal models that substitute human cases would be highly valuable for further experimentation.Findings: The booster effect of the synthesized CpG oligomer (Oligo-B) on aged mice which had been primarily vaccinated with BCG at the age of 4-week old. The specific Th1 type reaction, production of interferon-γ, in response to TB antigens, purified protein derivatives (PPD) and protection against challenge with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) H37Rv decreased with increasing age and were not observed in 89-week old mice. In order to rejuvenate the Th1 type response against PPD and protection activity against MTB infection, Oligo-B, which is known to augment Th1 responses, was administered as a booster to 81-90-week old mice (late 50's in human equivalent) vaccinated with BCG at 4-week old. The boosting with Oligo-B increased the number of CD4+ CD44high CD62Lhigh, central memory type T cell. Furthermore, the Oligo-B boosting rejuvenated the ability of mice to protect against infection with MTB H37Rv.Conclusions: Th1-adjuvant CpG oligo DNA, such as Oligo-B, may be a promising booster when coupled with BCG priming.
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