Protective T cell immunity against respiratory syncytial virus is efficiently induced by recombinant BCG

Susan M. Bueno, Pablo A. González, Kelly M. Cautivo, Jorge E. Mora, Eduardo D. Leiva, Hugo E. Tobar, Glenn J. Fennelly, Eliseo A. Eugenin, William R. Jacobs, Claudia A. Riedel, Alexis M. Kalergis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the leading causes of childhood hospitalization and a major health burden worldwide. Unfortunately, because of an inefficient immunological memory, RSV infection provides limited immune protection against reinfection. Furthermore, RSV can induce an inadequate Th2-type immune response that causes severe respiratory tract inflammation and obstruction. It is thought that effective RSV clearance requires the induction of balanced Th1-type immunity, involving the activation of IFN-γ-secreting cytotoxic T cells. A recognized inducer of Th1 immunity is Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which has been used in newborns for decades in several countries as a tuberculosis vaccine. Here, we show that immunization with recombinant BCG strains expressing RSV antigens promotes protective Th1-type immunity against RSV in mice. Activation of RSV-specific T cells producing IFN-γ and IL-2 was efficiently obtained after immunization with recombinant BCG. This type of T cell immunity was protective against RSV challenge and caused a significant reduction of inflammatory cell infiltration in the airways. Furthermore, mice immunized with recombinant BCG showed no weight loss and reduced lung viral loads. These data strongly support recombinant BCG as an efficient vaccine against RSV because of its capacity to promote protective Th1 immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20822-20827
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 30 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunopathology
  • RSV
  • T cell immunity
  • Th1 cell response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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