DNA vaccines expressing the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) homologs of the glycoprotein B (gB) and UL83 proteins were evaluated for protection against congenital GPCMV infection. After 4 doses of DNA administered by epidermal (gene gun) route, all guinea pigs developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) antibody and, for gB-vaccine recipients, neutralizing antibody. Dams were challenged with 1 × 104 plaque-forming units of GPCMV in the third trimester. Preconception vaccination with gB did not decrease overall pup mortality, although, within the gB-vaccine group, pup mortality was lower among dams with high ELISA responses. Preconception maternal vaccination with gB vaccine significantly reduced congenital transmission in liveborn pups. In contrast, UL83 vaccine had no significant effect on pup mortality or vertical transmission of GPCMV. Virus load was significantly lower in infected pups born to gB- and UL83-vaccinated dams than in infected pups born to control dams. These data support the concept that subunit gB vaccination may be useful in protecting against CMV-induced disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Received 7 May 2003; accepted 3 July 2003; electronically published 9 December 2003. Financial support: National Institutes of Health (grants AI-65289 and HD38416-01); March of Dimes (basic research grants 6-FY98/99-0416 and FY01-226). Reprints or correspondence: Dr. Mark Schleiss, Div. of Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229 (email@example.com).