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Streptococcus pneumoniae is a pathogen of great importance worldwide. We have previously described the efficacy of a nasal vaccine composed of the pneumococcal surface protein A and the whole-cell pertussis vaccine as an adjuvant against a pneumococcal invasive challenge in mice. Spread of bacteria to the bloodstream was probably prevented by the high levels of systemic antibodies induced by the vaccine, but bacteria were only cleared from the lungs 3 weeks later, indicating that local immune responses may contribute to survival. Here we show that a strict control of inflammatory responses in lungs of vaccinated mice occurs even in the presence of high numbers of pneumococci. This response was characterized by a sharp peak of neutrophils and lymphocytes with a simultaneous decrease in macrophages in the respiratory mucosa at 12 h postchallenge. Secretion of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) was reduced at 24 h postchallenge, and the induction of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretion, observed in the first hours postchallenge, was completely abolished at 24 h. Before challenge and at 12 h postchallenge, vaccinated mice displayed higher numbers of CD4(+) T, CD8(+) T, and B lymphocytes in the lungs. However, protection still occurs in the absence of each of these cells during the challenge, indicating that other effectors may be related to the prevention of lung injuries in this model. High levels of mucosal anti-PspA antibodies were maintained in vaccinated mice during the challenge, suggesting an important role in protection.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Vaccine Immunol

Publication Date





1382 - 1392


Administration, Intranasal, Animals, Antibodies, Bacterial, Bacterial Proteins, Cytokines, Disease Models, Animal, Female, Immunophenotyping, Lung, Lymphocytes, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Neutrophils, Pneumococcal Vaccines, Pneumonia, Pneumococcal, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Survival Analysis, Time Factors