• Vaccination equally enables both genetically susceptible and resistant mice to control infection with group A streptococci.

      Siegert, Jeannette; Sastalla, Inka; Chhatwal, Gursharan Singh; Medina, Eva (2006-02-01)
      There is substantial evidence that host genetic factors are important in determining susceptibility to infection with group A streptococci (GAS). Several studies have revealed that, similarly to humans, a genetic component may be important in determining susceptibility to GAS infection in mice. Thus, C3H/HeN mice are much more susceptible to streptococcal infection than BALB/c mice. We have determined here whether vaccination makes genetically susceptible mice as capable as genetically resistant mice to control GAS infection. Resistant BALB/c and susceptible C3H/HeN mice were immunized either systemically with heat-killed GAS or through the mucosal route with an M protein-based subunit vaccine, and challenged with live bacteria. Vaccination elicited in both mouse strains similar levels of bactericidal anti-GAS IgG antibodies and also antigen-specific mucosal IgA. Vaccination provided mice of both strains with an increased and equal capacity to express immunity against GAS as indicated by the reduced level of bacteria in the organs and the ability of vaccinated mice to survive infection. Protection in vaccinated mice was dependent on the presence of T cell-dependent bactericidal antibodies as shown by the ability of serum elicited in immunocompetent mice but not of serum elicited in T cell-deficient nu/nu mice to passively transfer anti-GAS immunity. In conclusion, the results presented here demonstrated that the presence of anti-GAS specific, T cell-dependent bactericidal antibodies elicited after vaccination overcomes the innate genetic susceptibility of C3H/HeN mice and makes both resistant and susceptible mice equally capable of controlling GAS infection.